Monday, August 26, 2013

A Prepared Environment in a Small Space

    This is the second post I'm doing that focuses on establishing a Montessori environment in a small space.  You can find the first post with ideas for how to store materials here.

    About nine months ago, we moved into an apartment that was about 30% smaller than our previous space.  Q-ball's previous exploration space (You can find some older pictures here.) was quite large and included lots of floor space and lots of shelves, our current living arrangement just does not allow for this sort of space. However, we work hard to ensure that Q-ball still has lots of options for exploration.  Here's what we've done.

1.  Find unique spaces for small shelving units.  As the high temperatures here have been over 100 for the past few weeks, we really didn't see the need for a fireplace.  So, Q-ball's primary prepared environment is a converted fireplace.

2.  Use nooks and crannies. Q-ball's writing/art table is in a small corner near natural lighting and her reading/music shelf fits perfectly next to our family media shelf.  

3. Use Large Baskets.  Baskets are a key feature of any Montessori design.  However, in our small space, I've found that larger baskets are critical as they can easily be placed on the floor for use and then shifted to another place depending on the activity and how many people are in the room at any given time.  We have a basket for stuffed animals, blocks, balls, and a train set.

 3. Squeeze items into their "true" location.  Q-ball's kitchen materials (with the exception of her knife) are always assecible in the bottom of our pantry, and Q-ball's set to bathe and care for her stuffed animals along with her personal makeup bag are under the bathroom sink.

Montessori Monday

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