A Montessori classroom only works if the materials it holds are complete and used appropriately. A prepared physical environment includes incorporating a control of error in the children’s works. The materials and presentations contain a control of error which makes the child use his/her reasoning abilities and promotes independence. This allows quick feedback for the child by allowing him to self-correct. The responsibility for learning rests with the learner.
Montessori Prepared Environment: What is Control of Error?
Examples of Control of Error:
- In the Children’s House, furniture is light enough to be moved without adult help. It is easily knocked over if the child does not control his movements.
- Objects in the classroom are breakable. Children learn to pour from glass pitchers and handle fragile items. This teaches them to handle things carefully to avoid damage or breakage.
- Nomenclature card sets include a working set and a control set of picture and label cards. As the Montessori teacher presents the lesson, the child watches the teacher use the working set, then refer to the control set to be sure the work was done correctly. The child is then able to use the working and control set when choosing the activity on his own.
- Another way of creating a control of error is to place small colored dots or numbers on the bottom of the materials. For example, when working with the sound cylinders, the child can check the bottom of the cylinders to see if the dots/numbers match. If they do, she knows she has matched them correctly.
Sample NAMC Preschool/Kindergarten blackline masters - Culture & Science