Yesterday I had the privilege of visiting the Montessori Early Learning Activities (MELA) playgroup based at The Gap in Brisbane (Australia). The group facilitator Amanda is a British trained Montessori educator. I always love to meet Montessori parents and educators and it was such a delight to meet Amanda. She has a real honest and down to earth approach to Montessori which is needed in her work. Amanda runs the MELA playgroup and an eight-week Practical Montessori at Home Beginner Course for Mums and Bubs. She spends a lot of her time communicating with parents and has a lot of ideas for implementing Montessori in the home.
The MELA playgroup is for children from infancy to around four years of age. So this environment is for a wide age range. One of the reasons I really wanted to feature this space is because of the details and some of the little touches that make it unique. Let's take a look around!
Above is one of my favourite trays! So simple and so beautiful. Take note if you have toddler! This is a smelling tray where Amanda uses different fresh herbs from her garden each week. The child can crush the herbs (on this day it was mint) with the handmade mortar and pestle and smell the fragrance.
Amanda's dad has made a lot of materials in the classroom including the wooden mortar and pestle, cylinder blocks, egg and cup materials, pink tower, blocks and spare parts. I love this handmade touch with many different types of timber including recycled timber being used.
The snack area where the children have access to water, snacks and kitchen tools.
A practical life, water transferring shelf. Amanda uses coloured water and note the matching colour sponges for clean-up.
Practical life shelves.
This is one of the practical life trays. Transferring little wooden owls with a spoon.
A language activity using a sandpaper letter and various objects (easy to find or make at home).
A shell matching activity.
These are three treasure baskets from the science shelves. Beach treasures, bush treasures...
and earth treasures!
Above are low shelves for the younger members of the group.
On the bottom shelf, there are three Heuristic play/treasure baskets. A metal basket, wood basket and cloth or soft basket. All of these items are easy to source and can be found in the home.
Another favourite tray. This is a rough and smooth tray. The young child is introduced to two simple concepts 'rough' and 'smooth'.
This is a sound matching activity. Recycled containers have been used and covered in red and blue felt. Each pair includes rice/sand, salt, chickpeas and rocks with a nail. The containers are marked on the top so the older child can check their work.
Above are language, science, maths and cultural shelves. You can find a few more images and DIY ideas on my photo of the day page.
Thank you so much to Amanda for allowing me to visit. If you are interested in the MELA playgroup or the eight-week Practical Montessori at Home Beginner Course for Mums and Bubs you can contact Amanda through her website or Facebook.