Montessori Make Over - a Montessori Playroom in Bondi, Australia
Have you ever wished someone would come to your home and help put together your Montessori-style playroom? I was once talking to a Montessori teacher friend about how small our home space was and she took a look around and came up with so many options I hadn't thought of. It's amazing what a fresh set of eyes can see.
When my friend Ceinwen showed me her children's workroom (pictured above), I couldn't believe how beautiful it was. Ceinwen and her family recently moved into a gorgeous Bondi apartment and they have this workroom just off the kitchen. It's an ideal space as the adults can be in the kitchen and easily supervise the children working. The hardwood floors are stunning and the room is open and full of light.
There were a few things Ceinwen wanted to change in the room and I talked her into allowing me to give the room a make-over! Some of the things we wanted to achieve in the make-over include:
- switching over to a smaller table to increase the floor space for the children to use
- adding a floor rug for the children to work on
A few additional items I wanted to include were:
- more greenery, to surround the children in nature but also to improve indoor air quality
- a forward-facing bookshelf to showcase the children's picture books
- blocks for open-ended play
- a nature basket for storing collected items from nature walks
- more activities for Bonnie (2yrs) including those for developing fine motor skills
- geography materials for Jack (5yrs)
As this is a shared workroom, it can be difficult to find the right children's table. I love round tables, they are open and casual and don't feel so school-like. This table is from My Playroom (AU), it is 90cm in diameter which is a good size for two children to share.
After measuring both children (2 & 5yrs) and observing them at their original table we decided to go with the table at 46cm in height. The best part about this table is that you can order the table legs separately, to achieve a table height of 40cm, 46cm, 53cm, or 59cms. So if the table is too low or if the family wants to upgrade in the future it's easy to order longer legs and don't have to order a new table. It's a great solution as the table will last many years.
I originally planned for the forward-facing bookshelf to go on the right side wall, but when placed in the middle of the back wall it just took centre stage. As soon as you walk into this room your eyes go straight to the books. The benefits of a low forward facing bookshelf include:
- it's easy for the children to select the book they are wanting to read, especially in the toddler age as the child can see the full cover
- it's easy for the child to take the book out and put the book back, resulting in a more ordered environment that the children can maintain
- it's visually appealing
- it makes book rotation easier as the parents can see which books are being read and which ones are not
The floor rug is just a fill-in until the family finds the ideal rug for this space. However this rug is just the right size, the table and chairs fit on it perfectly, it's only a cm thick so it provides a comfortable surface for the children to sit on but it's firm enough they can build blocks on it.
While Jack (5yrs) had some pencils and crafting materials in the drawers I really wanted to include some fine motor activities for Bonnie (2yrs). For Bonnie, I added some Lyra Groove Pencils, Wikki Stix, a pasting tray, a puzzle, and updated the play dough tray to include some scissors to practice scissoring. The little black box on the shelf is her sewing box which Ceinwen had already prepared for her.
For Jack, I've included a 25cm diameter globe and a junior atlas, as he's moving towards the second plane and developing a greater awareness of the world around him. Jack attends a Montessori preschool, so there is no need to include any materials here that he will have access to at school. I love the scales for measuring and experimenting with weight and we also have a fun little tea set (in the multi-coloured box) that can help with developing grace and courtesy skills.
Take a look at the gorgeous artwork on the top shelf. Ceinwen painted the magpies, isn't she amazing! ✨
The scales, pasting tray, puzzle, tea set, squeegee, and small spray bottle are all c/o LOVEVERY. The Play Kits by Lovevery are well researched and tested, they are reliable and children always find them interesting and engaging. The Play Kits also come with a play guide with lots of activities and ways you can support your child's development.
As I recommend for all Montessori homes, we've created a nature basket. The nature basket is a great place to store items collected on nature walks and it allows the children to come back later and closely examine the items. It also keeps items together that you can later use for art or language work. I've included a large magnifying glass for Bonnie and a pocket microscope for Jack.
This area is also used for crafting and for eating snack, so there was already a practical life area including a rubbish bin, compost bin, and a cleaning caddy with a mini dustpan, brush, and cleaning cloths. I've added a window squeegee and a small spray bottle. The small spray bottle just has water in it but can be used when wiping the table down or cleaning up spills.
On the right side of the room, there is space to put the forward-facing bookshelf if the family wants to move it. The fish tank is lovely and it brings in so much life to the room. The children already had their dress-up stored in these soft baskets to the right. The shelves under the fish tank contain open-ended play materials like Jack's lego and construction toys.
For indoor plants, I've added a Ficus next to the window and an Umbrella Plant in the entryway. Both are leafy green plants that grow vertically, they will be tall plants that grow upwards and don't have a large/wide footprint.
What do the children think of their new space? I think they like it!
This block set is amazing, it has so many options to support a wide range of ages. It comes with a useful booklet that explains the multiple ways the blocks can be used. I love that it comes with a cart to store the blocks and the modern colours. The block set here is also c/o LOVEVERY.
My recommendations for the family for this space include:
- observe Jack and Bonnie working in the area, note what works and what doesn't, make necessary adjustments.
- consider floor cushions for the children to use when working on the floor.
- consider hanging low artwork at the children's level.
- consider an art easel for the children to work on a vertical surface.
Thank you so much to Ceinwen and family for trusting me in this process and allowing me into your beautiful home! xx
Thank you to LOVEVERY for supporting this make-over and allowing me to share your materials with children around the world. Remember you can now also Shop Lovevery in the UK and Shop Lovevery in the EU.
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