The Prepared Environment

By: Chayale Cohen
from Arevim Schoolhouse

Learning Environment

Subject(s) of entry:
Art, English/ Writing/ Language Arts, Halacha, Ivrit, Math, Philosophy/ Values/ Ethics/ Hashkafa, Science, Social and Emotional Learning, Social Studies, Technology, Tefila

Blended Learning, Design-Thinking Model, Experiential Education, Hevruta Learning, IBL - inquiry based learning, Language Immersion, Montessorri, PBL - project based learning, Social and Emotional Learning, 21st Century Skills

Grade(s) to which this was taught:
K, 1, 2, 3

Grade(s) for which this will be useful:
K, 1, 2, 3, Elementary school

Our innovative, Montessori inspired environment allows our children to work in a warm, exciting and stress-free atmosphere that promotes high motivation and a love for learning. This model creates the ability for each child to receive a customized curriculum according to what s/he needs which encourages emotional, social, and academic success.

Entry Narrative

According to Maria Montessori, the prepared environment is a third teacher contributing to the independent learning and exploration by the child. With hands-on and exciting materials specifically designed to meet each child’s needs, students can work on activities of their choice and learn at their own pace. By giving the freedom of choice, it creates motivation and self-discipline as the children work towards accomplishing goals that they have set for themselves building confidence in their own abilities.

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The wisest man – Shlomo Hamelech said “חֲנֹ֣ךְ לַ֖נַּעַר עַל־פִּ֣י דַרְכּ֑וֹ גַּ֥ם כִּֽי־יַ֜זְקִ֗ין לֹֽא־יָס֥וּר מִמֶּֽנָּה:” Train a child according to his way; even when he grows old, he will not turn away from it. (Mishleh, 22:6) The natural curiosity of a young child is kept alive every day by their desire to explore the classroom and the beautiful and creative materials that fill the shelves. Yehadus is introduced by a central “Big Idea” theme that relates Chagim and traditions to student’s daily life. Parsha is brought to life with engaging manipulatives that students can feel and explore through the different senses. Reading and Writing are made simple and fun by using movable Alphabet to build words, blend sounds, and advance vocabulary skills. Chumash is interesting and exciting with exploration and analyzation of the make-up of Hebrew words; recognizing Shoreshim, prefixes.

The prepared environment with its hands-on materials allows our children to learn HOW to learn, it creates critical thinkers, and independent learners that will make them successful in this world that increasingly desires society members that can adapt to any situation, out of the box thinking, and invent progressively complicated ideas.

Flexible seating allows children to move around, be comfortable while learning, and have their own personal space to encourage energy and focus. There is also room for peer learning nurturing social skills, bonding, and team work. Teachers, as guides, can rotate and assist each child with their individual needs whilst the other children are busy exploring, investigating, and building their independent learning skills.

The environment provides for all the diversity of learning types. Visual, sensorial, audio, kinetic and many other styles of processing are incorporated within the set-up of the classroom as well as the materials which are created to provide and fulfill each type of need.

Multi-aged groups of children work together to advance their education. Younger children look to older peers for advice while the older students transfer their knowledge to their younger peers as ‘experts of the day’ fostering mentor relationships and creating leadership skills.

Entrant Bio(s)

Chayale Cohen grew up in London, England and is one of 11 children. She received her Bachelors in Psychology in 2011. In 2013, she received a Masters in Social Work (MSW) from Fordham Universty Graduate School of Social Service. Chayale has worked with helping children in many different settings such as at a children's home in Moscow, Russia where she assisted at risk youth with emotional and psychological support. Other experience includes teaching, organizing and implementing programs, aiding homeless seniors at an independent living facility and conducting play and talk therapy with children in foster care. Chayale also trained in Montessori Judaic Curriculum at Netivot School. Chayale is passionate about her work and strives to always help a child reach their full potential by emphasizing their individual talents and amazing abilities.