Education and Architecture
Montessori recognised the importance of the design of the environment. In The Child in the Family, she writes:
“The objects surrounding the child should look solid and attractive to him, and the “house of the child” should be lovely and pleasant in all its particulars; for beauty in the school invites activity and work, as adults know that domestic beauty nourishes domestic unity. It is almost possible to say that there is a mathematical relationship between the beauty of his surroundings and the activity of the child; he will make discoveries rather more voluntarily in a gracious setting than in an ugly one” (2007: 52, Kindle Edition).
In an interview we shared earlier this week on social media, Herman Hertzberger, a pre-eminent architect with a background in Montessori, mentions that he believes that an educational “space should be articulated in the sense that you are sort of protected, but feel part of each other. It’s a sort of balance between concentration on what you are doing and being part of the whole.” He believes that “a school should be like a small city. In a city you have small places, large places, all sorts of secluded and semi-secluded places, you have vistas and you have all sorts of activities. In effect, these pupils are not yet of an age to go into the city and explore the life of the city but they should explore life through the school, so you must create as many conditions as possible in the school so that they experience the world through the school building.”
In this wonderful blog post, Then We Will All Be in the Middle, Teacher Tom, writes that “Architecture speaks to young children in ways it perhaps no longer speaks to adults. They feel it in ways we don’t feel it. It calls to them…” He mentions architect Simon Nicholson (The Theory of Loose Parts Play; How Not to Cheat Children), whose view was that that “we are most inventive and creative when allowed to construct, manipulate, and otherwise play with our environments.”
GAM Gonzagarredi designs spaces in which the child is not limited but can explore and participate, making it their own. We invite you to join us at our webinar on Tuesday 22 March at 19.00 (CET) when a team from Gonzagarredi will introduce their work of educational environmental design from its origins to the present day, and the main pedagogical principles upon which it is based. They will provide guidance on classroom design and share some actual projects and examples of classrooms designed by GAM Gonzagarredi Montessori. Register here.