I’ve been promising a tour of our little classroom, so I am finally delivering. This is our unfinished, very cold, bug-infested-no-matter-how-often-I-clean basement. It has to be multi-purpose for us because it has been our playroom for the past two years, and needs to stay that way. So, this is a classroom and playroom and needs to be functional for both Judah (age 3.5) and Dex (12 months)
Let’s break it down. (enter painful beat boxing. I kid…)
These were bookshelves (imagine then standing up tall) that I laid on their sides and turned into montessori shelving. It works for us and it was free! I don’t really have my lessons broken up into subjects on the shelves due to a few reasons. 1. limited space, but more importantly is the baby. Some lessons, which change week to week, have to be kept up high away from baby fingers.
In the bottom left corner is a bucket and a tall basket where we keep our ‘rugs’. However, none of them are actual rugs! I have two bathmats from ikea, and then we have a couple small sized baby blankets that we don’t use anymore. I almost put them in my garage sale last month, and then I realized – duh! Why not?!
We have a clothes line with clothespins on the wall for finished art work. (Judah is not much of the art-type, which is why it’s lacking in fullness). In the top right corner, I have an extra set of shelving that I use for some of my office supplies and my filed paperwork/curriculum info.
We have a set of Ikea drawers that have been very helpful. They are easy for Judah and Dex to remove and put back on their own, and it’s nice because I don’t have a huge supply of trays.
Next to the drawers is one more shelf from Target. I don’t love it because the space is limited to tiny 1 ft squares, but I use the bottom shelf for little things for Dex, so we make it work. On top we have baskets with some notebooks, folders, etc for Judah to choose from when he wants to write or play.
I use these when I find something that I know I will want to use for future unit studies. Instead of packing it away, forgetting about it and then hitting myself in the head when said unit study is here and gone, it’s out in the open, organized month by month. So any themed containers, manipulatives, etc get thrown in there; when I do my planning for the next unit study, I start by going here and I have something to work with right away. They are just these very inexpensive hanging shelves, also from Ikea.
This is where I file all my labels and nomenclature sets. I took a large index card, and chopped off all but one inch from the header to make it like a divider tab. Then I folded a piece of colored computer paper around it and folded in the sides. Stapled up both sides, and got myself an easy little pocket system for each set. It works for me and it was free.
This was an unused changing table that we brought down here for extra storage. On top I keep a bucket with all my practical life tools: tweezers, tongs, measuring spoons, basters, etc. Next to that is this strange accordion file thingie that I found on clearance in the Office Section of Target. I use it to hold all of my many trays: ice cube trays, muffin tins, silverware dividers, themed jello-molds, etc. I also keep our sand (salt) tray up there because the thought of Dex getting ahold of that terrifies me!
In the drawer are all my practical life containers – bowls, cups, jars, etc.
On the bottom shelves are all of our safari ltd. animals in separate, labeled throw-away ziploc tupperware from the dollar store. I have a letter on each container, and then I used a sharpie to write that corresponding letter on the bottom of each animal in that set. It makes it easy for us to remember if the Kangaroo belongs with zoo animals or the Australian animals collection, for example. I keep extra lesson trays and baskets down there as well.
In the tall cabinet on the right are mini plastic drawers with crayons, markers, chalk, kids scissors and the like where Dex can’t get to them.
This is a recent purchase – a tall computer desk where Judah can bring his work if Dex won’t leave him alone. Dex is officially at “that” age and it can be really frustrating for Judah if he is fighting to keep his lessons on his mat all morning.
A while back, before this was even a classroom, I wanted to brighten up our very dark, scary basement. I painted the cement walls white and I added some little quotes from some of my favorite childhood authors or other inspired artists. Up above is one of my favorite poems from Shel Silverstein (my favorite Child Author of all time)
We have our weather chart on the wall, a basket with our musical instruments, a puzzle shelf and our book shelf. On top of the puzzle shelf are two baskets for Library books so they don’t get mixed into the abyss, and books I might use for teaching or reading during circle time.
Yes, those are very large rocks that I stole from our front yard and used as book ends. We have plans of painting them.
Since this was an ugly back to a dresser, I covered it with our calendar. That calendar is from the dollar store. Keepin’ it classy.
This cabinet houses all of our art supplies. The bottom part is stuff I don’t want Dex getting into – paints, breakable stuff, etc. It has a lock on it.
We have a little space heater that is going almost all morning since our basement is typically -38 degrees. Our Ipod and music dock and my trusty laminator around back are up there, too.
This is our toy area for Dex and any fun play time. Don’t judge my pink kitchen – it was free. I’ve been saying I’m going to paint it for 3 years. I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say that it will stay pink.
This is our peace mat and our little fort where Judah can go if we are having a problem listening, using gentle hands, getting along with Dex, etc.
Our geography corner. My mom found that awesome fabric map from a small fabric store somewhere. Unfortunately, I’m not much help there. The smaller US map I found in the dollar section of Target and I taped it onto a canvas I had laying around so it wouldn’t get bent.
This is our sitting/reading area and art table. Inside that dresser are all of my small manipulatives – pom poms, lacing beads, macaroni, rice. It’s kinda an organized free for all in there. But it works for me.
In the gray basket next to the TV is where I keep all of our active toys for our Morning Circle Time. We have a jump rope, bean bags, balls for rolling or throwing, an awesome indoor pogo stick, some painters tape to draw a line on the floor, etc. I try to add new things in there often to encourage movement and activity and he is welcome to it any time of day.
We keep bathrobes/jackets and cozy inside shoes/socks down there at all times because it really is frigid. And winter hasn’t even hit yet – brrr!
This bucket sits at the bottom of our stairs. We put our dirty dishes from practical life lessons, snack and anything else that needs to be washed into that bucket. Since we don’t have a sink downstairs, we bring the bucket up at the end of the morning and Judah washes them in the kitchen sink.
If you have any questions about anything I might have left out, feel free to ask. It’s still a work in progress, but it works for us for now.
Hey…how was everyone’s first day of school?!