Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Rolling a work mat

Montessorian directresses and children use mats during Montessori presentations and activities, that is sometimes referred to as the work mat. Bigger mats are used for bigger Montessori materials like the broad stairs, the number rods, (etc) or if there is a group activity. Most days, during the work cycle, Montessorian children use the small mats to identify their work space.

With this space, children are indirectly shown to respect every child's individual work space. Materials should be used one at a time. Upon completing an activity, Montessorian children will return the materials to the shelves before selecting / working on another activity. This does not just work well in preschool settings, but highly encouraged for home activity too. Children learn how to put things away where they belong. Read = No mess. Children also learn that they need to respect property. Stuff strewn on floors or all over the place will tend to damage more easily than if kept at their respective spaces. Hence, because we care for our environment and love our toys / materials, we take care of them.

Children do not cross over work mats of their own or of others, in respect of the materials in the environment and also in respect of the work of their peers. They are shown to walk around the mats in a group setting. In an individual setting, children can choose to work on the floor cross-legged or at sitting at a table.

While children generally work on their own activity and materials, it is okay to share. Montessorian children are encouraged to ask their friends if they wish to work on an activity together. With mutual consent, the paired or group activity be carried out together.

Work mats are rolled and placed in a basket. Children will reach for these mats prior to selecting their activity for the day. The first lesson to show to a child is how to roll and unroll a work mat.

Here's chubs at 18 months practicing on his roll. He's singing / humming to the tune of the song, "Row Your Boat" while rolling his mat. Hee..

Fast forward to this day, chubs is now about 3.5 years old and he can roll his mat better. In this video, he was a tad playful (rolling his mat quickly in parts) but he can roll his mat independently now and return it promptly into our mat holder once he's done with his work. 

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