It has been in the living laboratory of the classroom that Montessori and her successors, people like the Dotoressa Giuliana Sorge in Italy; Dr. Elisabeth Caspari in India, the U.S., Mexico and Switzerland; Dr. Feland Meadows in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Italy, France and Switzerland have discovered how to design and prepare a more effective learning environment. It has been through their research and experimentation over the years that all of the special characteristics of that scientifically prepared environment have gradually emerged. It is the cumulative work of these pioneers that has produced the uniquely effective Model Prepared Environments that are used by PAMS Instructors in the preparation of teachers. The Prepared Environment developed by Dr. Meadows over the years was identified in 2009 by the MACTE On Site Evaluation Team (OSET) as “the most comprehensively equipped Montessori classroom” they had seen outside of Rome, Italy.
The PAMS Prepared Environment is unique because it incorporates elements that Dr. Montessori herself wanted to implement in her Montessori classrooms when she returned to Europe from India after WWII. Dr. Montessori saw colored shelves in India for the first time. She instructed Elisabeth Caspari to add color to the shelf surfaces when setting up Montessori classrooms because the enhanced contrast between the color of the shelf and the color of the materials make the materials speak to the child. The PAMS unique classroom color code is: Practical Life (pale pink), Sensorial (pale peach), Language (pale blue), Math (pale yellow), Science and Cultural Subjects (pale green).
The PAMS classroom includes a rich array of Practical Life materials that help children develop concentration. The Sensorial materials address all of the child’s senses, including the kinesthetic sense, and a greatly expanded music education program developed by Dr. Caspari, who prepared piano teachers in Switzerland and Dr. Meadows who is a vocalist and choral conductor.
The English Language Arts program provides correctly made materials with which to implement Dr. Montessori’s writing practices which lead each child to discover reading. Unfortunately, many other programs have cast these materials aside under pressure from the public schools. Following Montessori’s own example, this Language program also has been greatly enriched by incorporating specialized materials and successful teaching strategies derived from 60 years of research in the language and literacy instruction of children with learning disabilities.
The teacher-made Math materials designed by Dr. Giuliana Sorge in Italy provide a structured sequence of Math presentations and activities which make the children’s use of the traditional computational and memorization materials even more effective.
The scientifically designed, hands-on, self-correcting, multi-sensory learning materials are always classified and ordered on low shelves where the child can easily find them; with regard to the senses or skills they are designed to develop; according to the interest to which they appeal; and in sequence with regard to their difficulty or degree of complication.