Saturday, October 16, 2010

Classroom Tour

Ok, here it is - our new classroom! It's quite a bit different than our old classroom now that we have an entire room to devote just to school. This, of course, means we do not have a guest bedroom/office and any future children we may be blessed with will have to share a room with one another. We're more than fine with all of that. Since we decided to homeschool, we realized it only makes sense to devote an area to that purpose.

Anyway, on with the tour...

The next 4 photos will give you a 360 overview of the room starting from the vantage point of the door. You'll notice the room is broken down into several areas all of which I'll go through in a minute.I was sure to keep in mind that this is James' classroom, therefore wherever possible everything is displayed at his height.

There are three large windows that let in lots of natural light and we haven't needed to use the overhead light as a result. One teeny tiny thing that irks me a little is that the curtain rods were hung too high by the previous tenant so the curtains are a bit short for the windows. :)

I was lucky to find 5 very similar bookcases here on the island. Not an easy thing to do when supplies and variety are so limited. It's hard to tell from the photo, but the rug is very soft and colorful - I think I found it at Target.

That's the entrance to the right. There's LOTS of storage space behind those closet doors.

Now for more details. One thing I made a point of doing was incorporating many special, personal affects into our classroom.

When you enter the room, directly ahead are the language shelves and our classroom calendar. I wrote about our calendar here and about the works you see on the shelves here. The little basket on the very top shelf holds print-outs of seasonal songs we sing during circle time. The very fragrant clove box is from Indonesia, a gift from a friend.

To the left of the language shelves is the reading nook. I think this is my favorite spot in the whole room. In front of a sunny window (with an ocean view!) is a little rocking chair (found locally) and a basket of seasonal books. We made the Waldorf window stars and beeswax ornaments last spring.

This is where James sits during our circle times. I always pictured him sitting on the rug, but he saw the rocking chair and fell in love with it. :) He loves to hold the pumpkin whenever he sits there.

To the left of the reading nook are the practical life shelves. My grandmother painted that still life portrait. The small wooden statue of the girl holding flowers was made in Minnesota (my home state).

The bouquet of flowers was a thoughtful gift from my sweet husband. :)

Next to the practical life shelves are the art and music shelves. On the top shelf is a portrait of Beethoven (we focus on a different composer each month and I change this photo accordingly) and an 'antique' :) MP3 player with speakers which are sitting atop a beautiful woven mat that I purchased while in Belize. We are a music loving family and we especially love classical music. I keep it playing - on a very low volume - throughout our school time. It makes for such a peaceful environment. I forgot to turn on the music the other day and James noticed and asked for it to be turned on. Then, when Fur Elise came on he said, "Oh! Beethoven is playing the piano!". The crocheted doily under the little straw basket was made by my other talented grandma. :)

This middle area under the windows is really just open floor space for bulky work and our sensory tub. I just have to share that outside this window is our driveway and just behind that is a nature reserve full of beautiful trees and wildflowers and with walking trails throughout. Since it's nestled within an estate, it's very private and we have yet to see another person in that area. It's where we spend our recess time, pretending we're explorers. :) The God's Eyes you see hanging in the window are the very ones I made at Camp Ojiketa some 20 years ago! (Yes, I save everything - I'm a pack rat sentimental like that!) The little wooden frame in the middle of the window sill is from Nova Naturals as are the beautiful seasonal and interchangeable postcards within it.

To the left of the windows are the science shelves. This bookcase, like the art & music bookcase, is a tad shorter than the others. I did this so James could reach the top shelves a bit more easily. As you can see we have a classroom fish which James has named "Mr. Pocodeo". It is James' responsibility to feed Mr. P each morning before we begin circle time. He loves doing this, although he does tend to overfeed Mr. P a bit. :) To the left of the tank is a little fish fossil set in stone. I found it many years ago during my travels. James says it's a picture of Mr. P.

Next to the science shelves are the culture & history shelves. You can see our US flag (in a vase w/ stones) which we proudly pledge allegiance to each day, our continents globe, and an oil painting of Paris that I purchased from a Parisian artist during one of my visits there.

To the left of those shelves are the math shelves. I must point out that I set out most of our Montessori materials for photographic purposes only - not ALL of these math items are out right now. Also for the purposes of the photo, I opened the boxes to show what's inside. The painting on top of the bookcase is a fun one - it's an alphabetic tour of some major cities throughout the world. I believe I found it in the Land of Nod catalog (a few years ago).

The last set of shelves nearest to the door are the sensorial shelves. I know the shelves are, in general, a bit out of traditional order, but this is the way that worked best for our room.

I have two live plants in our room, both of which James is responsible for watering once a week. I cannot tell you how much he enjoys taking care of these plants! I have a small watering can and cloth set out for him to use. There's a bathroom adjacent to our classroom so it's easy for James to use his step stool to fill the watering can with water in the sink. He uses the cloth to cover the spout while he's walking from plant to plant, to avoid any spillage. That adorable black and white photo above the plant is of my father-in-law (God rest his soul) when he was a little boy, circa 1925-ish.

And finally there's a small table and chairs and baskets with wipes and tissues on the side.

So there you go! What do you think? We LOVE it. The room is bright, airy and very relaxing. I find myself going in there just to sit and be. It's definitely my 'happy place' and I hope James feels the same way. :)

~Thank you for your comments!~

59 comments:

Katie said...

I love that alphabet painting! That is an amazing school room addition.

mommychick said...

What a beautiful and organized room! I'm go happy I found your blog! I'll be coming back often:-) I want to make the pasta sensory tub tomorrow for my 3 year old:-) Thanks so much for sharing!
~Melody

Deb Chitwood said...

I absolutely LOVE your classroom, Mari-Ann! It’s so bright, attractive, and welcoming! I think it’s great how you’ve incorporated family mementos along with so many beautiful Montessori materials.

What a great idea to have a composer of the month! I always enjoyed teaching music- and art appreciation, and you’re doing a fantastic job of blending it naturally into your classroom!

Like you, we had a classroom instead of a guest bedroom. It was always one of my favorite places in the house. You’ve done a phenomenal job – more than well done!
http://LivingMontessoriNow.com

jojoebi said...

wow, it looks great!
I will feature this post at some stage, I am trying to keep the prepared environment posts together.
thanks,
jo

Jennifer Howard said...

just lovely! I adore the dark wood shelves and how the works really seem to pop off of them. Well done! I especially like the small circle rug and the rocking chair with books. How perfect!
Thanks for sharing your beautiful space!
In PEACE
Jennifer

Förskoleburken said...

Oh, Mari-Ann!

Well done! You should be so proud of this room. I almost seems such a waste that not more children get to use it! Everything is well organised, warm and inviting!

A question: do you only have the appropriate materials on the shelves? Is it because of the limited space or for montessori-reasons? It's perhaps different than in a preschool with lot of children in different ages, we don't change the materials that often.

Thanks so much for letting us in your room!

Leptir said...

Your classroom looks wonderful and astonishing!! I love it :-)

Kisses from Croatia to you and your family

Myrtle said...

Your classroom looks amazing. Love the alphabet poster! Gave me a great idea for an ongoing project.

Beth- the mama bee said...

Your classroom is beautiful. Can't wait to see inside those closets some day. You are one organized mama.

Shar said...

What a lovely peaceful environment. Thanks for sharing - I love seeing how people arrange their spaces :)

M/T.A. said...

It is ABSOLUTELY gorgeous!!! I have been waiting....now, to hear what is on those shelves :)

Counting Coconuts said...

Thank you for your positive comments! I worked very hard on creating this space - your kind remarks are much appreciated.

@Forskoleburken: I keep a variety of materials on our shelves some traditional Montessori, some non-traditional, but all lean toward learning in some form or fashion - meaning I don't keep regular toys in this room or on the shelves. Those are kept in my son's bedroom. I like to change the materials fairly often, just to keep things interesting. With just one child in the room and with our room being significantly smaller than an actual classroom (thereby having less materials), it's easy for my son to explore everything on our shelves within a week of school. I don't change out EVERYTHING, some things - like the knobbed cylinders - are a mainstay for now.

Hope that answers your question!

Mari-Ann

Jennifer @ The Toy Box Years said...

Can I come to school at your house?
The envy in me at the moment is killing me! LOL!

What a beautiful open space! I LOVE it!

Darcey said...

Your classroom is wonderful! I love everything you included. Like a lot of others, I like the alphabet painting.

Debbie said...

I'm jealous! No really, your room is beautiful. I've said it repeatedly, but you are so creative! And I also love the composer of the month idea. I wish you could visit me in England and help me organize my stuff!

Nicole {tired, need sleep} said...

It's absolutely gorgeous, Mari-Ann! I love everything about, and can see why it's your "happy place". Well done! I love that Mr. P has a good view of the fish fossil - I had to giggle at that. Ah well, it's good for him to have a little reminder of his mortality close by, I think. ;) I love the pic of James in his rocking chair, holding the pumpkin. What does his shirt say?

Eva said...

wow I love it, so inspiring, it's so nice to have a whole room to dedicate to your homeschooling. I've been considering turning my daughter's room into a homeschooling environment for her and moving her dresser into our room.. thanks for the inspiration!

Discovering Montessori said...

Stunning! You will never see the same setup in montessori classrooms, the children are not the same. But this my friend is an EXCELLENT example of a montessori classroom at home. I pass and feel this rug at Target everytime I am shopping there, you just sold me on it. Lovely classroom. Thank you for sharing.

Jessica said...

Such a beautiful room! One day I hope to have our own little home classroom.

www.ourmontessorihome.com

Michelle said...

Wow ~ beautiful, inviting and very kid friendly! You've done a great job!

Raising a Happy Child said...

I am so jealous of all the space - the classroom looks awesome. James will have so much fun in it.

Patty said...

Mari-Ann, I've been following your blog for a while (unofficially). You are such an inspiration! Your new room is beautiful and you have such great ideas. We are blessed to have a great "playroom" but I would love to make it a bit more of a classroom. 3 kids and a husband who likes toys, not to mention I too am a pack rat, makes it difficult. I will probably be needing some mentoring from you ;) I look forward to reading your new posts whenever I get some "me" time.
~Patty

Olives and Pickles said...

Well done mama!! It is just so beautiful and lovely. I also have a "classroom" for C but thanks to your post I will need to make some changes...You are very inspired my dear friend! I can tell you put a lot of work setting that classroom..cheers to you good mama.
THANK YOU.

The Popes said...

Love it!

Can you recommend a good source for the basics of setting up a Montessori Room?

We just started Preschool at home and I really want to make it more Montessori but have only found info on the different Works and not the actual set up.

Giggly Girls said...

It's beautiful!! You did a fabulous job!!

Di said...

COMPLETELY amazing! I was thinking that our room looked pretty good--- that is until I saw yours! WOW!!! Good for you! It looks terrific. You have A LOT to be proud of!
Another A+ for your Mari-Ann!
Blessings!
Di

PS, if you can share how you keep it so perfectly clean w/o your son messing anything up I'd love the pointers! ;)

Lisa said...

Mari-Ann, than you so much for homeschool blog nomination. So sweet, and I've been such a bad blogger lately.

best wishes, lisa

sarahssweeties said...

I love it! It's so bright and pretty, and so organized! Great job!

Annette said...

The new classroom is absolutely gorgeous!! I could hear Beethoven playing while I was taking the tour ;-) I love how you set everything up. I am so glad I came across your blog. (I'm hopping over from 1+1+1=1)

Counting Coconuts said...

@The Popes: I emailed you directly since I had some links and a bit to say re your question. :)

@Di: Keeping the room tidy is quite easy! James simply cleans up after himself. He's not allowed to work on anything new until he's cleaned up and returned his current activity to the shelf.

Cara said...

What a beautiful, beautiful space! I love the way you've decorated it and made everything accessible to James. Both of you must feel so inspired in this space. I also like your composer of the month idea....music is one area I haven't explored too much with Finn, but I think your approach is a great one. Wishing you all the best on your homeschooling journey! I think you're going to have a great time!

Förskoleburken said...

Thanks for the answer. There's a big difference between one child in a room and 20! I think though, that the childs need for repetition is bigger than we realise. Perhaps the change is not always necessery. But that's just something I'm thinking about...
Thanks again for such wonderful inspiration!

Counting Coconuts said...

@Forskoleburken: I couldn't agree more about the need for repetition. Often the things I change out are replaced with something very similar, for example: I had pouring rice out last week and this week I have pouring beads, so the pouring skill is being repeated, but the material is new and exciting. I don't change things out every week, it's just that we're on the cusp of Halloween and I'm a big fan of themes throughout the classroom. :)

Appreciate your comments!

Karin Katherine said...

What a FANTASTIC room to teach and learn in. You inspire me to take pictures of our learning spaces (after I make some much needed changes).

http://www.passportacademy.com

Lindsay said...

LOVE IT!!! WOW it is so bright in there! Sammy would love it so I know James does ;-) Do you have a place for you to sit in there?

Jen said...

So totally blown away... your classroom is beyond beautiful and inspiring and amazing!!!

That's it... I'm sending A & M down to Bermuda to go to school with James. :o)

I love love love how you included all those special things like the photo of Paul's father and your grandmother's painting. I remember how much you like classical music too. James is going to learn soooo much, what a lucky kid!!

((hugs))

Abbie said...

What an amazing space for learning and so well organized. We keep supplies, projects and learning items all over the house and I always feel like I am scrambling to find stuff. Since we don't homeschool it would be a lot to ask to take over a whole room but maybe I will try for a closet!!

Kulow Adventures said...

Hi Mari-Ann! I am so inspired by your dedication to homeschooling and Montessori. Am now considering how to prepare an environment for our own home - maybe start with a corner or two and see how we do. Owen is loving his new Montessori school and so are we. I cannot BELIEVE you still have our God's Eyes from Ojiketa - WOW!!! You go girl!!! LOL!! "Everywhere we go-o, peo-ple always ask us....." xoxo Susu

Montessori Bee said...

Inspiring and oh so beautiful. Simple and uncluttered, yet full of lovely and beloved items. I keep coming back to this post to enjoy the tour and am inspired to bring some more personal items into our home classroom. Thanks for the peek!
Becky

Sunshine Mama said...

I always love to see how everyone organize their spaces. Thanks for letting us have a peak :)

Dianne said...

What a special mom you are. Your enthusiasm reminds me of mine when I began our homeschooling adventure twenty-five years ago. My oldest daughter, Stacy, was two and my twin sons were infants. Our first school room was in the living room of our small mobile home. By the time Stacy was 7 we had two more babies and had moved three times. Setting up the school room was always so much fun. Exception for the bathroom and kitchen, every room in the house has been the schoolroom at one time or another. My youngest graduated in May, 2010 making me a retired homeschool mom. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy. Time passes much too quickly! I love your blog and plan on sharing it with my daughter and grandchildren.

Anne said...

Such an inspiring room! Can you tell me the name of or where you got that cute little table with the tubs underneath?

Karen said...

Oh Mari-Ann!! I was a little "out" of the blog world these last 3 months!!!lol But this it's absolutly BEAUTIFUL!!! I LOVE Jame's classroom!! I looks so Interesting and Peaceful!! Wonderful Job!!!! my friend!!

A Biiiig Hug
Karen

Jessie said...

This is lovely. What I love best is the lack of clutter and the color scheme being so close to nature. Your room is a dream. I'm really looking forward to more on storage. Our classroom is our den, and we need ideas on space for things not on the shelves.

(Hi Jennifer! I'm planning on visiting NMI this winter, we should plan to meet there!)

Thanks for this.

Jessie
WWW.educationofours.blogspot.com

Gigi said...

Wow! I don't know how I missed this post. The room is SOOO beautiful.

Deb Chitwood said...

I featured your beautiful classroom at http://livingmontessorinow.com/2011/05/31/how-to-set-up-a-montessori-homeschool-classroom/

Sara said...

Strange question but what are the dimensions of your classroom, I love it and I have a room that I want to transform into a classroom. I look at it (as a guest room) and I don't want to over crowd so I am want to know if your amount of bookshelves will be too much for my room.

Sara

Counting Coconuts said...

Hi Sara,

Gosh, I have no idea what the dimensions are - sorry! The next time I'm near a measuring tape and the classroom at the same time I'll see if I can figure it out. :)

Mari-Ann

Minnesota Mommy said...

I recently found you via Pinterest, and I am loving your blog! I had never really known anything about Montessori thought process before, and I'm having a blast learning about it from your blog. Thanks for the look into your life and classroom - it's great to mentally connect everything. And I saw in this post that you're a native Minnesotan (yay!)

Kristen said...

I've been looking for a blog like this for a few days now! Yours is exactly what I was hoping to find! I'm really excited to start incorporating your wonderful ideas into our daily activities. My 22 month old son loves doing things that require fine motor skills, thanks for all the great ideas!

Elizabeth said...

Where did you get those shelves? I am struggling with the cube type shelves and would love to have more room for oversized items. Thanks!

Jenny said...

I just stumbled upon your blog via Pinterest, and I have to say, this is one of the most well-done Montessori home classrooms I've seen. As a trained Montessori classroom teacher, I generally stay away from blogs from Montessori homeschoolers - simply because anyone can say that they are "Montessori", whether or not they stay true to the philosophy. You seem to have a pretty good grasp of it, however, and I've seen a few ideas I'd like to borrow for my students. =)

Katie Kennington said...

I just found your blog through Pinterest. I am a mother of three girls ages 4, 2 and 6 months. I love LOVE all your ideas and your organization. I would love to have a room like this. I just wonder if it would work with my younger kids. I would think that they would just run in there and dump out everything on every tray and shelf. Does your son do that? I have really been struggling to figure out a good school routine and good activities to do with my girls. My four year old will start kindergarten in August and is so excited about it. But I want to give her a good structured school time here at home before then so she can be more prepared. We live in Germany right now for my husband's schooling so my daughter is excited about learning German. Do you have any suggestions about how to set up a classroom/routine/lessons with such a range of kids? How can we start doing school time like this?

aunt bee said...

I just found you & I am BEYOND excited!!! your style matched mine nicely. I LOVE your ideas and creativity! your children are very lucky indeed.
I work with students with multiple handicaps and am always looking for sensory ideas-so when I saw your senosry tubs on Pinterst well if I could still do a cartwheel I would have!!!
I'm hooked!

Counting Coconuts said...

Thank you all so very much for your positive feedback!

@Elizabeth: I purchased the shelves here on the island. Sorry, the brand name isn't listed anywhere on them.

@Katie: I'm happy to try and help you, please email me directly. Thanks!

Deb Chitwood said...

I featured the photo of your lovely music and art shelves in my Montessori-Inspired Music Appreciation post at http://livingmontessorinow.com/2012/06/18/montessori-monday-montessori-inspired-music-appreciation/

roam15 said...

Hi! Your room is really an inspiration. We basically have the same room size (for my future home school) and I LOVE how you organize your areas. Just sent you an email earlier. Thanks again! Cheers to creativity & teaching!

roam15 said...

Hi! Your whole home schooling is very inspirational. Your creativity is great, not to mention your passion. By the way, I just sent you an email earlier. Thank you so much for sharing all your wonderful ideas & thanks for the opportunity of stumbling upon your very informative blog. God bless your family.

Ashley W said...

I love your classroom. I would love to see how it looks now, if it has changed.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails