The goal in this room is to include all family members in participating in activities of family life. In the living room the seating is made available for all sized family members. Children can sit on the sofa without difficulty. They might have a stool for a smaller child. The very young child often prefers to work on the floor. In this family room, there is a basket in the alcove which contains small area rugs. The children use these rugs, as in the classroom, when playing on the floor to designate their space.
This room contains many opportunities for care of the environment lessons; plant care, how to dust, window washing, sweeping and vacuuming.
PLANT CARE: There are many plants throughout the house placed at the child's level. Be sure that your plants are not poisionous. Click here for a list of ten good houseplants. Plant care can easily be set up with a small caddy or tray containing a small paint brush for dusting the leaves, a sponge for cleaning the leaves and a mister. First you would show the child how to carefully hold the leaf in their hand as they dust it with the brush from stem to tip. Next we wet the sponge, wring it out and then wipe each leaf clean. Finally, we mist the plant three times. You might also show the child how to test the moisture of the soil with their finger and how to water a plant with your little watering can.
WINDOW WASHING: This activity has long been a favorite at school and at home. It can be set up quite easily and inexpensively with a little caddy containing a mister, squeegee, and washcloth. At school we allow the children to spray one spray from the mister and then wipe it away with the squeegee, drying any drips with the washcloth. Montessori Services has a dusting activity, window washing activity, and a plant care activity already put together and color coded. I have them listed in our favorites.
Below: You can see in the photos below where the family has a work table for the children in the dining room. The children's art materials have a special place under the desk. Their entryway has places for both the adult's jackets and pegs at the child's height for their jackets. (Behind the door they have hung a shoe sorter to hold scarves, mittens and hats with each family member's things in their own pocket. What a great idea!) There is a shoe rack for all family members use.
The children's artwork is displayed in the hallway.
In the bottom right picture are cabinets in the living room. One set of cabinets contains items neatly sorted for one child; puzzles, blocks, games and such. On the other side are cabinets for the older child's belongings. Both children have been included and their items are stored in such a way that the parents are pleased. The parents belongings are on all of the higher shelves in the room. By putting their things away when they are finished the family is creating respect for each other and their shared environment.
Study - work area
Children learn from their parents and they want to do what you do. This family has set up a space for the child with child-sized table and chairs, and containers to organize art supplies. Notice the abundance of natural lighting and nice neutral colors. The child is free to create whenever they feel inspired.