Our Montessori Environment

A beautiful, organized, and well presented learning environment is critical in the Montessori environment. In any teaching environment, as a fact. However, homeschooling often presents many challenges to the beautiful pictures one is quick to find over the internet. Are those pictures real? Staged? I don’t know, but I certainly don’t hold myself accountable to those standards.

Schooling at home is different. We often have space constraints not to mention that children *always* end up doing school in every place except the school room. Does that happen to you? Regardless of your family style I think we still should strive to prepare (to the best of our abilities) a beautiful environment. 

In order to “solve” this problem I have become intentional in what is displayed on the shelves and what topics we investigate at the same time. That is, I remind myself that I prefer children to investigate in-depth versus breadth. But the truth is that things pile up and my shelves get messy. The intention is what counts, right?

Yikes! That’s a big mess.

How to Setup a School Room

Identify areas of your house that might work. Then find some book shelves. In order to prepare the area, I took an old bookshelf and and turned it into two. Now they are both at the right height for my children.

Note: I never took a pre-picture so I borrowed one from Pinterest.  

Then, I grouped all of our materials by subject. This picture shows our mathematics manipulatives.

I also used the same “school” area for toys as I don’t distinguish “learning” versus “playing” materials. To me, and for my children, all materials are playing materials. See the dolls in the back?

Because our house is really small (950 squared feet) our materials are spread all over the house. I mean, everywhere! Still, the intent is to present materials in an attractive way.

Maintaining the School Room

Because things get messy we rotate manipulatives now and then. Every time we deep clean we organize our shelves too. It’s always a good thing because the girls feel inspired by the materials again and we have a ton of “in the moment” lessons. Who doesn’t love that?

Finally, don’t forget to tackle leftover materials. I choose to organize using different methods and wrote a blog post about that.

We love to hear about what works for you. Leave a comment below and show off your homeschooling space.

Published by Reizelie Barreto, PhD

Reizelie is a former homeschool parent and a trained science and Montessori teacher with a passion for curriculum development. She loves learning and teaching and on her spare time she helps families create home environments that enrich a child's learning. Reizelie has a PhD in science education and has been working in the field of education for the last 19 years. She loves helping teachers, schools, and homeschooling families improve their science curriculum in ways that are authentic to scientists' work.

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