A tour of the Montessori 0-3 environment at Montessori Doma

Everyday I read a lot about the Montessori method. I browse the internet and share all my finds on my Facebook page. I see so many beautiful Montessori places! 

Why do I like sharing with you my Montessori finds? I get inspired and I want to inspire you also! I think it is interesting to observe how Montessori classrooms look in different parts of the world. The classrooms have similar core materials but all of them are very unique. Looking at them gives me ideas for improvements. I find design decisions and material variations that I can implement in my work.

Recently I saw one place and I was so eager to have a deeper look at it. This was Montessori doma. I contacted the owner and got acquainted with wonderful Mojca. She turned out to be the sweetest person. She is so kind and lovely! I asked her to make a virtual tour of her place for my readers and she was so eager to show it. Yei!

    

Mojca is from Slovenia. She is a mother of two girls (9 and 7 years old), Montessori assistant 0-3 and at the end of 3-6 training. She is a founder of Montessori doma – it means Montessori at home (blogwebshop, and academy for parents) Now she is preparing her first online course for the parents who want to implement Montessori at home. How cool is that?! I think sharing knowledge is so important because by teaching others you learn and understand things better yourself.

Montessori is very young in Slovenia. First Montessori preschool was established in 2002. Mojca found out about Montessori when she got her second child in 2010. It resonated with her immediately. By the way, the same situation was with me. It is such an incredible feeling when you feel that you found something you were looking for. She wanted to know more about the approach so she started reading the books, contacted the local preschool for attending the parent-toddler class with her girls. She even enrolled in the Montessori long term class for Montessori teachers 0-3. Firstly she started as a mother who wanted to raise her girls the best possible way and she found that Montessori is the best fit for her family. Now she is doing this as her main occupation.

She started to write the blog first. Her blog was the first  Montessori blog in Slovenia. There were not that many information for parents available and they were grateful for the information she provided., Also she decided to open a store with Montessori appropriate materials and items to help parents find them. I think this is one of the reasons we all are doing Montessori.


Running parent-infant and parent-toddler classes is her big passion. She has been doing this for 7 years now and the last year she has got a place to rent. She sees so many transformations happening in her class with the parents and the children. The parents become much more secure in their role as parents, they trust their children more and on the other hand, children become more independent, more engaged in their work as they were before. This is what makes her driving and keep doing her work. 

So let's look at her fabulous class! I am so excited! I want to tell you more about every element so you have a deeper understanding of what is inside the classroom.

The photos are from the space that was prepared for 0-3. Twice a week she transforms the place to serve only for the babies. She removes high furniture and all the materials for 1-3 and adds only the ones for the babies.


The space is 40m2.  I love it when the classroom has big windows. They are not always available because not all of us are lucky to find such place but you only look at it. Big windows fill the class with such amount of natural and warm light. Light plays a special role in forming a calm and beautiful space also. 

The classroom is not full of bright colours but does it make it look worse? No, not at all. This combination of wooden furniture, calm colours, green flowers and some colour elements form all together beautiful and inviting environment.

Furniture is mostly from Ikea. She reworked some pieces so they are costumed to the children and the purpose.

This little table and chair can be used from abut 6 months. They help a child to form independence from the day they start to sit.They are just the appropriate size for children. A child should be able to touch and feel the floor with his feet. It helps them to feel safer. 


Glass walls are my seconds love after windows. They add some kind of elegance to the whole space.
Here you can see practical life and food preparation area. 


On the top shelf you can see from the top and left to right: 
1. Red bin for organic waste, cutting board, and knives; 
2. Big ceramic green bowl with handles is for scrubbing the chairs, tables, and kitchen board; 
3. Tray with 2 cloths, one for wiping the spills and the other for cleaning the table. There is a small sweep and dustpan for the table beside the tray. It is for sweeping the crumbs or for cleaning after beans transferring; 
4. The green basin is for washing the fruits and vegetables. There is a little brush and the pitcher inside. 
5. Towels are for the wiping the floor for any water spills.

Pay attention that Mojca has a hook on the right side of this shelf and on the right side of the sink. This way children can access them easily.

On the left, you can see a child-sized sink. And here is an interesting moment - Mojca's room doesn't have plumbing. But the sink is completely functionating. She really wanted to have a running water in her room so she had to improvise. She wanted the water to be available for children. So she made a DIY portable child-sized sink. Her friend helped her out. She used this tutorialThe sink only provides the cold water and the water pump has a humming sound but the kids are ok with this. Mojca changes the fresh water for every session and empties the used water. 


On top of this shelf, you can see a basket with fruits and a basket with cutters


These are some other food preparation works that are available in the classroom.


There is a corner in the classroom where all the cleaning tools are situated. Again they are on the child's level so they can easily access them. There are different brushes and brooms. 


You can see a huge and amazing ball tracker on the next photo. I like that its size is pretty big so the child can observe it while standing. Then there is a small chest of drawers of the nice mint colour. There are dry towels for the activities of practical life inside. The children can change them by themselves if needed after finishing the activity if the used towels are wet. Also there is a drying rack where children can hang towels and clothes they used for cleaning. I like a lot this practical life element. Also, pay attention to the picture. It is on the child's eye level and it depicts a realistic photo of monkeys.


Other practical life work that you may find interesting is hands washing. I just love this ceramic bowl! It is beautiful and children learn to handle delicate things. Again there is a hook for a towel. Wow, every element of this environment is so well-thought!


Children have a small watering can so they can care for plants.


There is a table with mirror for nose blowing. Mojca stores napkins in this small drawer. It is so exquisite. Mojca has chosen such an appropriate piece of furniture exactly for this work and for this environment. 

Then you can see the fine motor shelf. Every work is in separate basket or tray. Here we have scooping, transferring, bolts twisting and threading material. As you remember we do all the transferring works from left to right (it is indirect preparation for writing). Pay attention at the right amount of beans in the bowl. You should put the amount of beans (or other things you use for transferring) that a child is able to transfer. A child will probably don't have that amount of patience to transfer the whole bowl and we don't want him to stop and leave half in one bowl and half in the other. When I put such work on the sheld i put in the bowl about 10 spoons of beans and then I observe how children work with this amount. This may seem like a tiny thing but the whole Montessori method consists of such small but important details.


Then there is a shelf with various works that will be interesting for children. 

You can see from the top and left to right:
2. Shape sorter from Ikea;
3. Hammering work - box with balls;
4. Small puzzle;
5. Mystery bag.


Then there is a place for musical instruments. I like that every of them has a separate basket rather than stored all together in one. This way a child can work with every instrument independently and concentrate on it.


Then you can see a language shelf. I like then she even put that adult books shelving exactly in this place in the classroom. They somehow belong to the language area of the classroom. Maybe this wasn't her intention but it makes sense for me ;) I like that Mojca uses different baskets. They add life and colours. The shelf looks calm and invinting. The hedgehog painting by the famous illustrator Jelka Reichman suits the space so wonderfully. 


There is also a reading area. There is a cozy reading corner with pillows, arm chair, and basket with books. Have you noticed that there are different blue elements throughout the whole classroom? I think this add the feeling of connection to the whole space and it is pleasing to the eye.


The classroom also has an art area with blackboard and different art works. The red bucket is for cleaning the art board.


On the shelf you can see from the top and left to right: 
1. Stamps; 
2. Crayons; 
3. Glue box; 
4. Protective covers for all the art works.  Children take the everytime they work with art materials and put on the table surface to protect the table; 
5. This basket is for plain papers.

This is an area for the babies. It has a low mirror, sort mat and pillows, stand for mobiles and takane ball.


This is a low shelf with materials for infants that is near.


This turned out to be a very detailed post. But I really like this place and I wanted to show you all its corners. I see that Mojca has put all her heart and soul into it! I am happy to meet such a professional. I want to thank Mojca for such opportunity to visit her space virtually ;)

The other reason for such a detailed description of the elements is to help you create your own spaces. I think it will give ideas for teachers in the classroom and for parents at home. This way you will have a more complex idea of the Montessori 0-3 environment and can go and implement some of this ideas right away.

Please visit Mojca here: 
Online store: http://trgovina.montessoridoma.si/ (she ships to other countries too)



This is not a sponsored post I just really like this place.

Spring Nature Table Inspirations

This post is a part of the Montessori Bloggers Network project "Our Montessori Spring". My blogging friends and I collaborated to share with you our seasonal ideas.

I like nature tables because they bring nature to the classroom. Usually nature table is a selection of various natural gifts or nature-related items that are collected in one corner or on one shelf. They add life to the classroom. They connect children to our wonderful natural world. These items welcome children to explore and discover them. Children like to touch, smell and interact with these items. A child can complement the table with his own finds and nature treasures.


During different seasons we can create seasonal nature tables that will include seasonal items and support children in their learning of the seasons and let nature to always be around. It may contain seasonal nature gifts, seasonal works of art and anything that is connected to this season.

Let's look at some spaces and get inspired to create something wonderful in our homes and classrooms. Let's get some ideas of what we can place on this table. Some of the tables have less natural elements and more seasonal items. You can combine several ideas and create something that is suitable for your environment. 

This spring area looks very beautiful and lovely. It will not take a lot of space. You can place it on any shelf or chest with drawers. Spring-themed painting or art piece, fresh flowers, little birds figurines look wonderful.
Spring nature table with birds and flowers
This table also looks pretty simple but lovely. It doesn't have a lot of elements but it definitely has a spring feeling. It has fresh bright flowers, lovely art works in spring colours and a couple of little figurines. 

Spring nature table with flowers
This is a very lovely seasonal setting. It includes different elements in various shades of green. Such table setting can be made even in small spaces. You can add more elements during the span of the season. Such setting can be easily substituted for another season by changing the elements. 

Spring nature table
This is the whole spring shelf. You can also have one if you have enough space. Painting with warm sun and bright colours, flower, book about spring, little birds. Think about what feeling spring gives you and what items will help your child to have these feelings also.

Spring-themed table
Spring flowers and green grass. This table also includes some elements of one of the biggest spring holidays - Easter.
Beautiful table inspired by spring
Look how springy this one looks! Willow twigs, green bulbs, green colours. It shows the the spring is a time of growing.
Spring table with flower bulbs
This one doesn't look specifically like spring one, the summer one can look similar. But it looks very green and full of plants. 
Fresh and green table
Again spring colours and flowers. These are definitely the things you want to include at your table.
Spring table with flowers
I like this piece of cloth that has different shades of green. Lovely book about spring. Small painting with growing bulb. Beautiful blossoming flower.
Nature table in March
I wish you inspiration!

Don't forget to check out other amazing posts about Montessori and spring! I wish you inspiration!



Don't forget to come back on March 21 and read all our botany related posts!

Where should I start? Practical advices for starting using Montessori method at home. Part 2

We continue sharing advices about starting using the Montessori method at home (Please read part 1 also). I asked wonderful Montessorians about what they think a person should do first if the person wants to start practicing Montessori at home.

Please read all the advices carefully, make notes and decide at least one of them to start using. 
I think all of them will give you a clearer understanding of what you need to do and show you the right direction.


Matt Bronsil: "I think a good piece of advice to start is to set up a space for the child to do something specific and create a small environment there. For example, set a desk that is just for art and have an art shelf. Set it up like a Montessori art shelf and let the child begin with that. After that, start to branch out and make it bigger. If you start too big in the beginning, you'll be worn out"
About Matt:
I grew up in Montessori. I was brought into my parents' classroom as an infant and am now a Montessori 3-6 Teacher in Taiwan. Please visit me at http://www.MontessoriWebinars.com

***
Vanessa Thiel: "I believe the place to start is preparing oneself with research and reading the works of Maria Montessori. The next step is setting up the environment and the place to start is with practical life skills. That is the easiest place to begin because Montessori is not just the materials, it is a way of life. A new way of thinking."
About Vanessa:
I'm a Montessori stay-at-home mom who is homeschooling my preschooler. I'm also a Pediatric RN and an IBCLC (Lactation Consultant.) Please visit me at http://www.mamashappyhive.com

***
Deb Chitwood, M.A.: "Preparing yourself would always be the most important place to start. Dr. Montessori said: “It is not enough for the teacher to love the child. She must first love and understand the universe. She must prepare herself, and truly work at it.” I think that applies to parents (the child’s first and most important teachers) as well as to classroom teachers. That said, I think it’s natural to start preparing the environment as soon as possible, too."
About Deb:
I have my master’s degree in early childhood studies, and I’m a former Montessori teacher, school owner, and administrator. I was also a Montessori homeschooler and homeschooled my now-adult children through high school. Please visit me at http://livingmontessorinow.com

***
Jae Espuerta: "Preparing of self and the environment"
About Jae:
I'm a homeschooler teaching my kids through Montessori methods. Please visit me at www.pinayhomeschooler.com

***
Simone Davies: "I would suggest looking at ways to include your child in daily life. I love to have the kids help me in the kitchen, get ready for visitors, help in the garden and spend time together. It can take longer at first, but you will be helping your child scaffold skills as they experience these parts of daily life with you."
About Simone:
Simone has been working in Montessori since 2004. She is a trained AMI teacher who runs parent-child Montessori classes in Amsterdam at Jacaranda Tree Montessori and has two children who have attended Montessori school through primary school. Please visit me at http://www.themontessorinotebook.com

***
Kelly Johnson: "Preparing yourself. Take a month or more to immerse yourself in reading Montessori's philosophy, learning the basics of the method, double check in with experienced Montessorians, in person or online, to make sure you are interpreting what you are reading correctly, and then carefully plan how you will apply and implement the method and philosophy into your environment.
For example one may read "follow the child" and allow the child to not brush their teeth or hair because the child doesn't want to, but they are actually misinterpreting the meaning due to lack of knowledge in the philosophy and method, not realizing that the freedom to follow the child comes from defined limits and expectations in the child's environment."
About Kelly:
I am trained AMS 6-9 and have been a Montessorian since 2000 in many capacities, from art and music teacher to toddler assistant to garden coordinator to substitute to lower elementary lead teacher. I find immense joy in the method and philosophy because I see how holistically amazing it is for children, and I adore the aesthetic preparation of the adults and environment. Please visit me at http://www.wingswormsandwonder.com


***
Lolly Kent: "I would say the best starting place is with the self. In preparing yourself and reflecting on why you want to pursue the Montessori philosophy you will have the foundation for making consistent choices as a parent. If you are clear in your intentions it will be easier to assist your child in their development. The rest will follow, because if we are aiding the child to become independent the limits, preparation of the environment, choosing the types and amount of toys, etc. will be a natural result of these choices."
About Lolly:
I am a Montessori teacher (6-12) and Montessori mum. I have several years experience in Montessori classrooms and currently tutor students using Montessori principles and materials. Please visit me at http://elementaryobservations.blogspot.com.au

***
Yuliya Chernikova: "In order to prepare oneself and the environment for the child, one has to know what principles to take into consideration and implement. So we are coming back to the necessity to educate ourselves first which opens limitless possibilities for the whole family."
About Yuliya:
AMI trained teacher for the Primary level

***
Yang Jingyi Gabrielle: "It's important to start with the environment. By taking small steps, rearrange or set up the home environment that promotes independence & movement for your child. One does not need to buy every Montessori toy or activity tray. It can be as simple as doing cardboard box toys, or letting your child feel empowered eg, brushing his teeth, getting a drink, making a snack. Limit toys to open ended ones like wooden blocks or legos. You can also do toy rotations to keep the child engaged"
About Yang Jingyi Gabrielle:
I used to be a preschool teacher before becoming a stay-home mum 5 years ago. It was also then I discovered about the Montessori method and has been adopting a Montessori lifestyle with my two boys. Please visit me at Coffeeandtoastmama.wordpress.com

***
Meghan Hicks: "Preparing the environment is helpful to set the right tone for the family, and the right frame of mind for the adults. Simplify things by culling unnecessary belongings, ensuring that everything you decide to keep has a place, and making conscious decisions about how to include your child in daily life. Think about every job you do in your home to maintain it, think about the tools you use to complete this work, think about how you can make these tools (or more child appropriate tools) available to your child"
About Meghan:
I am trained in 0-12, I teach children from birth to age 16 in various settings, I lecture for two international Montessori teacher training institutes, I write about Montessori for families, I travel to schools around the world to help them refine their environments and their practices, I homeschool my own children.

***
Grace En-Tien Chang: "Regarding acquisition of items: Remember that if your child will be going to a Montessori school (3~6), it is not wise to have the same didactic materials at home. Offering it too early may be detrimental as well.
A lot of toys infants like to play with are easily home made. In fact, infants appear to like to play with items in the home more than commercial toys, for the most part.
The biggest challenge is not giving in to commercialism: Not becoming overwhelmed with all the activities and things to get out there, not trying to do everything, and nor putting things and activities over observation and routine - because every child is different and you will soon see that what someone else's child loves will not necessarily attract your child - but be willing to experiment and enjoy! ... a steady routine and familiarity for the 0~3 is key to child's development of mental organization and confidence.
What you should invest in is your own education and growth. Get hard books on Montessori that go deep into the theory. If you don't like reading, sign up for webinars or hire a Montessori coach! There are quite a few seasoned Montessori teachers consult virtually and they can serve as a great resource for you. Moreover, find a group of like-minded parents in your community and this will help so much in the process of personal transformation and growth!"
About Grace: 
I have a BS in Biology, and have been an Montessori & brain science autodidact for the past 5 years. Have helped run a Montessori co-op and am currently undergoing my internship for my certificate at a Montessori 3~6 school in Taiwan. Please visit me at http://whenthediaperleaks.wordpress.com

***
Tamarah Rosenberg: "Look inward at yourself. There are amazing parents who do not have a single Montessori Material. Learn to follow your child and be prepared to treat them as you would your 80 year old great Aunt. Then read Montessori from the Start, The Child in the Family and The World of the Child. #1 DO NOT ALLOW TV or visual electronics until the child is 6"
About Tamarah:
I am unnatural Montessorian, my soul is loud and chaotic. Creating a peaceful place for my children brought peace to my soul.

I hope this will be useful for you. All the Montessorians were very passionate to share their knowledges. Have a wonderful Montessori Home!