Friday, 25 July 2014

Montessori Work Mat

Hectic week again! *faint* Challenging to find time in between to share some Montessori juices with everyone. Finally, a wee bit of time for now to do up a quickie post, with both my boys latched on me. Hehee..

Now, this post is important as it is one of the first few items to have, to set up your Montessori space. A work mat.

My eldest daughter was a very sickly child and I later found out that she had borderline asthma as a toddler. She also suffered from bad eczema. This meant that my search for a mat was made more challenging. Mats / carpets are known to trap dust. My toddler had an allergy to dust. *cry*

I bought our very first mat from Guardian Pharmacy's Home & Decor Section (that they still had back then). The 
section displayed home necessities like curtains, shelving ideas, unique boxes for storage, cushion covers, place mats and several decorative items.

Their range of place mats caught my eye. I like how it was not that thick and fluffy, has pretty frills and came in a nice light green colour. I should've bought more but I only had my eldest daughter then. So, I bought only one and I must tell you that this mat served its purpose and well worth it, as it lasted me till now - 13 yrs and counting. Not a thread has come off the mat. While it's understandable that the colour has faded from years of usage, this mat was definitely value for money and the quality speaks for itself.

As I slowly accumulated Montessori materials from all over the place (and all over the world too!), I realized I needed a big mat for Montessori presentations that required more space due to the size or length of the equipment. There were also presentations that required the use of a larger place mat, so I was back on my search for another mat.

I found a couple of thick rugs that were nice, pastel coloured but a tad too fluffy. It was ok for me but I was sure it won't be for my daughter. They are those types of heavy, plain coloured, rectangular rugs with slightly longer frills on each end that would fluff out dust just by a strong tap of your palm. The weight was perfect, as it was enough for the rug to keep to its space during presentations or activity. Lighter ones tend to move a little. But nope, I didn't get those.

I was window shopping at IKEA when I chanced upon an off-white, soft, long and quite a large enough mat, placed at their placemat section.

I bought one to try.
A little light, but easy to roll, easy to clean (just throw in with all-whites laundry days) and didn't take that long to dry.

Happy with my purchase I went back to IKEA to source out other colours and perhaps new small mats. 

IKEA now offers long, thick(er) mats in the form of table runners, small mats in the form as placemats that have improved in quality and comes on a range of colours. It's great that many comes plain, without designs.

When sourcing for mystery bag or work mats, go for plain ones. Designs can be a distraction. 

I snapped a picture to show the comparison between the sizes for three of the mats I am using at this point on time. Since the mats are nicer and prettier now, this time, I bought more…  Besides, I now have more kids to work with. 

So, if you're motivated to start the Montessori initiative in your house, a work mat should definitely be on your stuff-to-get list.

Have a good Thursday, everyone!


PS. If there are other places anyone haunts that offers nice mats, do share! Thanking you in advance. 

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