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Obsessing over Details! January 24, 2013

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So . . . we had our clean slate, and we added a brush of fresh paint to refresh some old shelves and furniture.  What next?  It was time to obsess over details.  It took several days to decide on the area rug.  We measured and remeasured the space available.  We considered color and texture, and decided on a rug that was mostly plain and flat in texture.   This was important, as this was the area the children will use for building the pink tower and other structures.  So many rugs available were just too busy.   We were glad to find a rug that was mostly plain.  The squares around the outside of the rug help children find their personal space for listening to stories and joining in songs – not too close to your neighbor!  When the rug arrived we realized that it has a built in black line for practicing ‘walking on the line’ and that the colors could be used for lots of games.

On to another decision – seating!  On a recommendation from a friend we chose these cubes.  They are strong, lightweight, stable, durable and flexible.  The chairs can be flipped over to lower or raise the height of the seat.  They have backrests and armrests for comfort and safety.  The chairs can be flipped over to provide a small desk or table, or a stool for an adult.  And, our color theme was definitely developing into ‘brights.’  We also have some small wooden chairs, a couple of rocking chairs, and a mattress on the floor – choice is always important.

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Adding a portable sink with hot water was a really expensive decision for us, but we know that two year olds love water and we want to encourage handwashing, and so we added this handwashing area to the snack area of the classroom.

Even choosing plates, bowls, silverware and glasses can take a long time.  For example, the glasses we chose were advertised as very sturdy (a plus, when considering safety).  The sides of the glasses are dimpled to provide a better grip.  The glasses are stubby, not top heavy, and weighty – so they are less likely to be knocked over  or broken.  We had a child test these glasses for us, as far as size and comfort for small hands – perfect!  glasswareThese glasses, like the pitchers we will use, come from the Montessori Services Company.  They are an excellent resource for families, as well as schools.  The plates, bowls and serving dishes we chose are so small and so pretty – mostly white, with bands of blue, purple and green.  Having a very distinctive and matching look for our new classroom was important as we will be sharing a dishwasher with an adjacent classroom.  When it is time to empty the dishwasher, we’ll know what belongs to our room.

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A Brush of Paint! January 11, 2013

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A Brush of Paint!

So . . . we had our clean slate, and the next step was to add furniture.  After investing a lot of money on remodeling, new flooring, and new paint on the walls, we decided to help our budget by giving shelves we already had in storage a new lease of life with a coat of paint.  The most important consideration was the height of the shelves, as we wanted all of the shelving to be easily accessible to our young students.  We painted all of the shelves white.  Later we decided we needed to add some color.

We tried many different small tables for a snack table before we remembered the little table you see in the photos.  There was some leftover blue paint from a previous job, and we wanted a pop of color, so the snack table for the room is now blue.  It looks so cute with the four wooden chairs – a perfect place for friends to eat snack together .

What followed was a little bit of Montessori magic.  Jamey and Casey found really cute matching bowls, plates and serving dishes – all white, with a trim of blue, green and purple.  We’d found the theme for decorating the room.  Now it is mostly white, with splashes of bright colors, such as a red rocking chair and a blue snack table.  When Ms. Jane saw the color theme developing, she brought a really cute shelf that is painted red, blue and green.

Next we ordered an area rug – more bright primary colors.

The room is going to look so wonderful.  I can’t wait to see the room when it is all ready to receive our first students.

 

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A Clean Slate! January 7, 2013

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A Clean Slate!

When I visit a Montessori classroom, I am always impressed by how much effort the teachers put into preparing and maintaining the environment to make it into a peaceful, inviting, stimulating place to learn.  The teachers consider so many aspects – color, texture, flow of movement, table, shelf and chair height, space for floor work, light, temperature, water sources, etc., etc.  At the Montessori School of Pullman, we recently began converting a room previously used for our after school program into a room especially prepared for children ages two to three years of age.  This is a brand new program for us, and we are very excited.

You now have the opportunity to watch as we prepare the environment from the very beginning.  I will post photos and explain some of the decisions we made.

First of all, we needed a couple of big and expensive changes – extending the sprinkler system into the room for safety, and adding a bathroom and changing area.  The location of the bathroom was decided for us.  We chose a corner of the room adjacent to the bathroom in the neighboring classroom.  This was where we had access to water and pipes for the sink and toilet.  We chose the smallest toilet we could find.  Children feel much more secure when sitting on the toilet if their feet can firmly touch the ground.  And, oh, everyone agrees – the tiny toilet is just too cute!

Next we decided on flooring and new paint.  We chose linoleum for ease of clean up.  This allows us a lot of freedom for deciding where we will have the practical life shelves, art area and snack area, all areas that are easier to manage when there is no carpet near by!  As linoleum is such a hard surface, we chose soft colors to make the room look warmer and more inviting.  Our walls are painted ‘conch shell’, a very pale, pearly pink, and the flooring also has a touch of pink.  We’ll add a rug, as well as some cozy features such as a child-sized rocking chair and a reading corner to further soften the look.

We are loving the clean, bright space we have to work with, and are excited to move in shelves, tables and other furniture.

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