The Montessori classroom is a community where all citizens are responsible for its care. Not only the teacher, but every member of the class is given the responsibility of caring for himself and for the environment. The teacher models respect for the contents and the citizens of the community and in this manner instills this respect in the child.
The aim of Montessori education is the development of concentration, coordination, self-discipline, and independence within the child. These aims are realized by allowing the child to explore freely in a carefully prepared environment and to progress at his own rate. Although the students are sometimes doing work beyond what is offered in more traditional settings, academic superiority is not a goal.
There are four main areas of the classroom: Practical Life, Sensorial, Mathematics, and Language. Younger children and first year students tend to spend more time in the Practical Life and Sensorial areas. These areas lay the groundwork needed for the more academic areas. The benefits of the activities include building the muscles in the hand for handwriting and increasing concentration for longer lessons in numbers or letters.
The equipment, either Montessori- created or teacher-created, is purposeful as well as beautiful. The materials entice the child to work with them. Tasks start with the concrete and move to the abstract. They also progress from simple to more difficult.
There is a built in control of error so the child can correct himself. Some activities, like pouring, spooning, and sweeping, prepare the child for life. Some activities, like the tower of cubes and the broad stair, also prepare the child for future learning (decimal system, volume, and geometry).