Sunday, July 27, 2014

Montessori-Inspired on a Budget: Work Mats

As you  may know, Seedlings is a mash-up of my favorite educational philosophies: Waldorf, Montessori, and Reggio - Waldessorio, if you will.  This year, I am writing a brand new curriculum and adding in even more elements from each of the philosophies I love; especially Montessori as Monkey will be attending Kinder at our local Montessori school.

If you've ever tried to shop for Montessori supplies, you know they don't come cheap, so I have set out to find ways around the large price tag while still filling my classroom with Montessori-inspired elements.  First up: Work Mats.  Yes, I'm aware that in real Montessori schools they are rugs, not mats, but here at Seedlings, they are mats, yoga mats, to be exact.  I couldn't quite afford the $12 per rug, so I opted instead for $9 yoga mats, which I then cut in half to provide just the right amount of work space for my students.

As it so happens, I've also found myself an amazing yoga instructor who will be teaching classes for my students this year, so the mats will also be used for their actual purpose.  In addition, I use the mats during music and movement time to give each child a space to we don't end up falling over each other during our more active periods.  I love classroom elements that can multitask!

Why work mats?  Here are just a few reasons.

- They give each child a protected space in which to work
- They help the children recognize and respect the work spaces of others
- Children can leave work and return to it at a later time without it being disturbed
- They add an element of importance to the child's work
- They are part of a larger rhythm: unroll your mat, choose your work, complete your work, clean up your work, roll up and put away your mat
- And much, much more!

More sneak peaks into our new classroom coming soon!!!

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