Montessori School Design

Prepared Environments for Learning and Living

Learning never takes place in a vacuum. Optimal education requires optimal surroundings, and for more than a century Montessori environments have set the standard for school design that supports deep learning, peaceful and purposeful social development, and vibrant communities of practice. Grounded in core principles of order, respect, and freedom within limits, Montessori environments are intentionally designed to foster concentration, collaboration and community.

The moment you step on campus, it’s clear this is a special place; every detail communicates our commitment to intergenerational, life-long learning and profound respect for every member of the community.

Kathleen Guinan, Executive Director
Crossway Community Inc.

Montessori School Design


The school is designed as a village, with a variety of communal spaces, such as libraries, gardens, cafes, and amphitheaters, preferably set within a natural environment.


A simple, uncluttered aesthetic guides the design, which features natural light and warm materials, close connections between indoor and outdoor environments, and common use spaces for communal learning and reflection.


All spaces accommodate free movement, small group and individual lessons, and courteous interaction among adults and children, encouraging independent investigation and learning both inside and out.


Strong bonds between students, adults, as well as the neighborhood that surround the school are essential for establishing respect, trust, and a template for healthy development.


Meticulous attention to every detail of the learning environment.


Student-centered learning is enabled by a highly enriched and structured classroom context. Adults support independence by maintaining a thoroughly prepared environment.

Since 1907, when the first Casa dei Bambini opened in Rome, Maria Montessori’s idea of the prepared environment has guided the design of both indoor and outdoor Montessori spaces throughout the world.


Casa dei Bambini
Rome, Italy


First Montessori School in the US
Tarrytown, New York


MacDowell Montessori School
Milwaukee, Wisconsin


Annie Fisher Montessori Magnet School
Hartford, Connecticut

Studio MB

NCMPS partners with the architectural firm StudioMB on the design of Montessori learning environments specially suited to individual sites and specifications.

“Plainly, the environment must be a living one, directed by a higher intelligence, arranged by an adult who is prepared for his mission.”

– Maria Montessori