We are a family with three 'wee winkles' exploring the pleasures and perils of educating at home using Scripture, Montessori and a lot of love!

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Preparing the environment

With enormously limited space I have done the best I can to create a Montessori environment for Cherry and Lamb. We have one little lounge room so all of the books that were on the bookshelf have gradually found new homes so that I have some shelf space.
In the top left corner we have a pouring exercise: I wasn't too sure how Cherry would go with this so we have started with chickpeas (something easier to pick up than say rice), the next cubby over has our felt leaves, ladybirds and laminated numbers for our introduction to sums in a basket and the sandpaper letters, the third cubby on the top shelf has a tray with sandpaper numbers, some cards with images in different quantities and a little container of buttons for counters, the cubby on the right has a box of homemade colour grading cards that I got from Montessori print shop and a puzzle map of Australia.
The bottom shelf has a numbers puzzle, a basket of animal pictures for classifying according to genus or where they live and the felt mat that I made currently holding a felt puzzle for the seasons. The two baskets hold Cherry's cloth nappies and wipes and things and the cubby on the right has board books. I separated the board books from the page books when Cherry was learning how to treat books so that she knew which ones were hers and they have stayed separate.
On top there are the geometric solids that I made with cards for sorting (also from Montessori print shop).
To the left of the cubby on the floor is a basket of animals and to the right is a set of stacking cubes.
Lamb has a basket of cars tucked next to the couch and there is another basket with things better suited to Cherry (stacking rings and the like).
We also have a shelf in a cupboard for mostly art related supplies.
Texters, crayons, chalk and pencils in little boxes that are easy for Lamb to get out. A container with playdough and cutters and things. A basket with our homemade geometric insets. Paints and paintbrushes. A container with scrap paper for collage. The magnets set is in here so that Cherry can't get to it being as that it has little ball magnets that she could easily choke on. And a document file that has plain and coloured paper, a pocket with stickers and colouring books(that Lamb never chooses).

We also have a moveable alphabet and a set of cuisenaire rods but they are currently in a spot that Cherry can't access...until she is old enough not to pull things out for a five second look that takes me an absurd period of time to clean up, or until she can carry things without dropping or mixing them up.

I also commandeered some wall space with a homemade seasons wheel and a learning clock that I picked up from Aldi (it does work so once we've gone through the motions of learning with me changing the positioning of the hands I might pop the batteries in).
I made the day and month chart out of a white board that I no longer use. I sewed a square of fabric with two little pockets in the front and made up cards for the days and months in English and French. They all have velcro dots on the back so that Lamb can take them off and put the new ones on as we need to. I just put this up yesterday so my plan is to take a quick look at this each morning. Lamb knew the days of the week in both languages by two years old but I haven't taught him the months yet and it's more about the routine of it helping him to connect with the passage of time.

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