One side of the shelf is used to keep the wooden toys and games. Card games are kept in plastic boxes as well as the craft sticks and threading material. The wooden puzzles are stored in another shelf.
I love Montessori philosophy. I like the idea of organization and the independence that it brings to the children, I like the fact that they make their own discoveries in a meaningful context and I like the simplicity of it all. I love it as a teacher and even more as a mother.
But, regardless of what many blogs say, I don’t think it’s easy to implement a Montessori environment at home, especially if one doesn’t have a lot of time to be with the kids. However, I do what I can with whatever I can find.
My solution is, obviously, to improvise. Build some homemade toys, think about the toys I’m going to buy, look for free resources on the web and read and benefit from other people’s experiences. I’ve managed to put some ideas together with the objective of creating a Montessori environment. I don’t mean that everything is perfect (far from that) and that my kids do the tasks the way I want them to. But they have the resources, their toys are generally organized and age appropriated and I like to think that this is a value and they’ll profit from it.
We’re lucky to live in a big house that allows us to have a playroom for the toddlers. We bought a low shelf so that they can reach all the materials and it’s used to store toys, games, books and drawing material.
Small toys, such as cars and animals, stay in open plastic boxes. This way they can carry the box to play at the table.
Books are kept in another part of the shelf and they’re organized by size (which goes against my professional believes).we have books in Portuguese and in English and most of them are made with strong paper and are age appropriate. I also introduced some more extensive books that I’ve bought before becoming a mom.
We always have paper around. Some of it is bought and some is reused. A spray painted can is used to keep the color pencils. I’d like to find another way to store the paper but for now it stays on top of the shelf. There are also several stickers to put in the drawings but they usually end up stuck on the floor. And there’re some times when they forget about the paper and draw on the walls.
In this room we also have a table and two chairs, one big bag to store other toys and a bucket of giant building blocks.
I know that this isn’t really what the Montessori school pretends but it’s what I can do with the time and the resources that I have. There’re some good blogs that explain Montessori ideas very clearly and offer free materials and ideas. Here are some blogs that are worth a visit: