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School Room

School Room

10 Tips for Making the Prefect Learning Space

When I showed off my little school space  I got a ton of sweet comments on how much you loved it! It got me thinking about what a Montessori space needs and how to give you tips for making your very own space! Maria Montessori really believed that the environment was one of the teachers of children! What a totally interesting way to look at interior design. The room is a teacher. So what is your Montessori space teaching? That is the question. How do you ensure that the space your children are spending time in is teaching in its own way? Well here are a few tips that I think can help as you plan your space:

1) Simple is Better: You don’t need a ton of stuff on the walls, or piles of stuff on shelves. Kids can only focus and learn concentration when there is less distractions. Like a room that is too noisy, environmental noise often makes it hard for kids to tune out. So keep art work in a contained area (like a frame, buliitain board, or line with clips) and educational posters to a minumun. I also found that those posters are more interesting if they framed or matted, and compliment your deocr. Work on the shelf is better if there is breathing room between the items. Last year I piled all of the wooden boxes of work one on top of the other. However, the girls never chose them that way. Once I separated everything and gave it room, they were more interested in it. So clear those shelves of work no longer needed or toys that aren’t nessesary! Simple is better!

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2)Get Low: Seriously, sit down on your knees and see what your kids see. That beautiful arrangement family photos you put out for your baby to look at my be too high for her to see. That darling wooden train that you just know your two year old will love, maybe too high on a shelf. So climb down on the floor to see what your kids are going to need for space, height, and ease of use. However, that doesn’t mean you will always be able to fix things that are too tall. Shelves are pretty standard on height and the bathroom sink will always be high! So don’t forget to find a good step stool to help with those places where things are just where they are. Make it a part of the design of your room. That will make some of those things on the top of a shelve accessible if they need to be. It will allow you to be sure they can get what they need, while still utilizing all the space you have. This is the first step to learning independce and self ability!

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3) Make it Cozy: This is your home, not a preschool, so make it a cozy space. In a school setting they need to be careful about how many soft objects they have because of the germ factor. You however, don’t need to worry about that! So add some pillows, bring a soft chair, and center the room with a rug! Cozy can make you comfortable. And there is no rule saying that learning needs to be uncomfortable! Besides, stories are just better in a big chair. When learning is comfortable it become something special that you want to do again!

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4) Make it Pretty: A pretty space is one that people want to spend time in, and you are going to want your learning space to a place that is happy to be in. So add some color to the walls that you love, hang some pictures, and make it look the way you want to. It dosnt have to be really expensive or a huge undertaking. Making a space your is as simple as adding things that are beautiful to you. In my school room there is a Trojen Horse on the shelves that was my grandma’s and I love it. It has nothing to do with our school room other then I like to look at it! 🙂 Often this is where people don’t know where to start making it theirs. So start a pintrest board and pin rooms that inspire you. You will never make it look just like it, but you may find something that will help you design your room into the perfect space for your family. Start doing it bit by bit. The more beauty you can add, the more inspired your kids will be. Remember, beauty is individual! So whether bearuty to you is giant lego monsters, ethereal fairies, or a mason jar of flowers it is going to make your space special to you! And that will make the time you spend there special too! Beauty is what inspires us to make things better and giving your child beauty will help them see the good all around them.

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5) Books and more Books: As an interior decorator, I know that there is really something about books that make a room real. Seriously, this is huge decorator tip, add books! If you look at any decorator magazine, in every room you will find some books somewhere! Books are real, they are personal, and they are ever changing, plus they are educational! Take time with your books. Don’t just shove them on a shelf, they are a huge part of learning and they are also a huge tool to making your learning space awesome! Place them in a basket, sort them by color, stack them on their sides, or arrange them by subject. Whatever you know will work for you! Just don’t shove them all into a closet hidden away (some maybe if you have as many as we do)! Make them an indepensible part of the room. Trust me it will make a difference in not just how the room looks, but how your kids view books in their life!

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6) Add Nature: Ready for another decorators tip? Add some natural elements. Nature brings in life. It bring the feeling of peace, renewal, and freashness. So add some nature. Maybe its a collection of tresures from a walk, maybe you have a pet fish, or maybe you have a little plant to care for. Fill a jar with pretty rocks, have a vase filled with sticks you collect, or have a basket of log blocks to work with! There are a million ways to add nature to you room, and so many of them are easy and free! Its a simple way to add to the beauty of the environment! Plus you are teaching your kids that nature is special. important, and a source of information!

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7) Display it with love: The room that you are creating is for your kids, so there needs to be a place to display those trasures that they will always find time to make. A picture draw well, an elephant sculpted from clay, or a robot made out of pop bottles! Whatever it is, kids are naturally creative and always ready to share their work with you and the world! So foster that love of expression by making a special place for their work to live. Stick the 3d picecs on a shelf, have childrens art frames for the wall, or a bullitain board for their art work. Find a way to display their work in an attractive way to let them know that you value the time they put into it! They worked hard and you want to praise that. Simply, placing that work somewhere special for all to see will speak volumes! Plus, you wont need to spend money on art for your room! You will have one of a kind original pieces ready for display whenever you need it.

8) Keeping it Clean: As with any space how you can keep looking good is the tricky part! So when you are placing the work on the shelves, or buying things for your room, think about how easy it will be for the kids to maintain what you have set up. Does everything have a place? Is it easy to put things on the shelf or do you have to put things a certain way to make it fit? If you have a lot of art supplies like me, are work surfaces easy to clean? Can the floor be swept or do you need a vacuum? Can the kids get to the stuff they need to help clean the space? It is a space for them after all, so they should help maintain it. That not only will give you a break, it will also help them make the room feel like theirs! So when you are planning think about the cleaning too! Keeping spaces organized is an essential skill for life, so why not start early!

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9) Eclectic variety: Variety is the spice of life right? It can also add some spice to your learning space. Make sure that you have things out for working with that cover a wide variety of subject areas. You never know when your little ballerina is suddenly going to want to become an geologist because she found a pretty rock! Or maybe your avid cowboy suddenly wants to know how his body works! Sometimes new interests are started all at once and totally randomly, so having a learning space that is full of variety to support that is important. Make sure there are science materials, worldwide culture activities, natural elements to play with, and historical things to explore! Remember, learning is about more then lessons, it is about the passion and drive to find out more about something!

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10) Ages and Stages: Finally, don’t forget that your child will not be the same size forever! Make sure that the space can grow with them. If you make the room way too baby oriented, then you will need to redo your work later when they are older. So make it something that they can enjoy later too. Plus, keep in mind that you want the space to be a place where older kids and younger kids can work together! If one child is older and one is younger, then if you make sure the space is compatible for both of them. When they are working together, then amazing learning happens! Plus learning to share a space is such a good lesson that is easy to learn in you own home.

So those are some tips that should help you create an awesome learning place for your kiddos! Not matter what ages you have and or where your space is, there is always a way to make it a special part of your life! Don’t forget that you don’t need to do it all at once either! Change things as you or as you find the perfect element to add. Before you know it, your learning space will be a beautiful reflection of your family! What is your favorite tip to make your learning space perfect?

 

School Room 2013

Well as promised, here is the tour of our school room for the year! I have to say I have added quite a bit of homey elements to make it more like a room then a school. I wanted learning to be comfortable and feel like a part of life, not something that we do only in one place. Another difference is that I have places a great emphasis on art and creating. As I mentioned before, I love the book (and blog) the Artful Parent. This idea of making your family artful by allowing art to happen, made me think about making our homeschool an artful homeschool. I want to make learning something that really inspired them to create and make it theirs. So there is lots of art materials and space to work. I also added some more of those childrens art frames that open to pop in a new paper easily! I love that it give the girls work a sense of importance and it also makes things feel warm and cozy! Another thing I did was make a chalk board for our studies. I realized that we used our little chalk board a lot last year and I wanted a bigger one. I couldn’t find one, so I made it (my hubbie helped out a bit)! It turned out really well and I love how it looks! Finally, when I reorganized our school room in the spring I moved things all around so that there was no subject specific areas. Thing were placed where they fit best and where they looked prettiest. This was fine, but I realized that having things arranged by subject made more sense for me and for the girls. So back in order things went, but I still tried to use a few pieces as decorative to make it look pretty too! Well, you can be the judge! Let me know what you think! I like it. I am sure that we will change things as we go and you will it! Here is what it looks like now!

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This is our Art Shelf.

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Here is my chalk board! I think it is so pretty! I think we will really make a lot of use of this!

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This is our sensorial area (more or less). This is all out because I know that when we have friends over, these are all things that we can share easily!

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This is botany, weaving, practical life trays (I haven’t made them yet) and our bells.

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This is our language area. The basket of animals are going to be the base of our grammar work! I plan to use them instead of the farm. We can make sentences using aniamls and landscapes from different continents! Thus combining our geography and language!

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This is a little bit more random. we have some geography work on the top part. This is where we will have a changing continent shelf that the girls can decorate each month. On the bottom there are fraction circle, Bunny’s robotics kit, and the geometry sticks.

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Finally here is our math area! You can see all the regular math works! Bead fram, golden beads, sandpaper numbers, etc.

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Here is an overview of the shelves so you can see it all together!

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Here is our main work table. I have some new frames here and also our nature tray! I think it looks much better! I made a geography inspired art set for the area. I love this Mother Thresa quote. It seemed perfect!

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This is Pup’s work area and the stairs upstairs.

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This is Bunny’s desk. You can see she is already making her area hers! 🙂

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So there you have it! What do you think? I really like it! I think that it is a beautiful space and I hope that it will help make learning a bit more fun. Some how having the best space possible seems to make learning more inspiring and important. Don’t you think? How is your learning space? What does it look like? Leave a link! I love to see where others are learning! Happy Schooling!

My Montessori Mess!

Well, I spent the day working on organizing the school room for starting our learning again! I am making a chalk board for our space, and I am figuring out how to make things flow! Want to see my results? Well here is what I have:

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Not what you thought you’d see is it? 🙂 What a mess. I emptied all the shelves and started to rearrange everything! My goal was to make things flow better and have cleaned space. I felt like there was stacks of stuff on the shelves that were not easy to get to. Plus, I didn’t need the table top chalkboard since I was making one for the wall. That freed up some space and it made me able to use it differently. I love using the Montessori materials as decoration,  but I felt like things were too cluttered. So we are changing that too. Plus, I am trying to make the art shelf stocked and ready! So….you will have to wait to see it all when its not a huge mess! I hope it will be in the next day or two! On a side note, I do know that not only is my school room a mess, so it my blog! I am working on that too! So now, it is time for me to stop talking (typing) and get to work! Happy School Planning!

bon.nlx@mailxu.com