Montessori is a universal philosophy. It spans all continents. Montessori classrooms around the world house similar materials (and children too). When searching through Google images of Montessori classrooms in various countries, the below images appeared. The pictures are from China, Italy and India. But they could very well have been our school.
In this picture from China, not only are these girls using a similar movable alphabet to one that we utilize; but you can see that 2 friends are working together. One of the girls may be providing the necessary help to move forward with the work.
This picture is from a classroom in Italy. In seeing more of the classroom in this picture, you can see the same sand paper letters that we utilize, you can see the puzzle maps in the map cabinet, the sensorial materials on the shelf and the 100 board on the table. Additionally, you can see the teacher is presenting a lesson to the one student while the other looks on.
Lastly, this picture from Nepal also shows many of the same materials on the shelves that we have in our classroom. The children are working in pairs, or alone. At first glance, you may not notice the teacher…she is seated on the floor with a child. She is not the center of attention in the classroom; but allowing the materials to teach the children.
The lead teachers were fortunate to observe recently at Anami Montessori School off of Park Road. In walking in the classroom, and sitting for 30 minutes, I felt like I could have been in my own classroom. There was a child working on the long 6 chain, a pair of children peeling their own oranges at a snack table, two boys racing to see who could finish his work first and 2 teachers with quiet voices addressing the children with respect and understanding. I was able to take away 2 new ideas for the classroom that I observed at Anami. It goes to show, a classroom, even after 19 years is still a work in progress.