Every year, as Quentin’s birthday draws near, we pause to take stock of our space. Specifically our Montessori work space. This year as we observed him, it became quickly clear that Quentin is passing into the Second Plane of Development. It also became clear that his space is quickly becoming obsolete.
It’s hard to believe we have come this far.
This is how our space started. There is a post about it here that was written less than a week before his first birthday. It was a space that Quentin, an infant on the movement mat with his bell and ring mobile, and his big 12 year old brother needed to share. Over that first 18 months it worked extremely well.
A year later we did a major overhaul of the space a year when Quentin turned two. You can read about it here. Just like in any toddler Montessori environment, movement needed to be at the forefront of our focus. He needed a large floor area and items that called to his need to move his body. He also needed more shelf space as he was showing a capacity to sit with table work for longer and longer periods. The space for materials was important because he had not yet started school but was very eager to do tray type activities. Anthony had also grown out of the need to have his things stored in the boxes shown in the first picture. The overhaul worked beautifully and the space continued to be used by both boys.
A year later a minor overhaul was done again as Quentin turned three. We removed his book basket and installed a book rail so he could display and easily access more titles. Anthony no longer required the space preferring his work table be moved to his bedroom and the space became solely Quentin’s. We also got a new work table set that better fit him and took up less space since he was better at containing his tray work. You can read about that change here.
As Quentin turned four only the smallest of changes happened. You can see what our entire house looked like here. We changed the artwork and really started to make use of the new designated art area (shown behind the open backed shelves with second desk and upright cube storage).
The space still worked but we could see changes would need to be made.
And so, as we sit with Five less than 24 hours away, we have decided we must change the space.
Here’s what still works in this space:
- Light and airy
- Clean lines and clutter free
- Open space to move around in and lay out a work mat
- Clearly designated area for art
- Reading corner still comfortable and a good fit size wise
Here’s what doesn’t work in this space:
- Cube shelves are no longer required. He knows where his work goes instead of needing an empty cube reminding him
- Too many cubes. He actually needs less shelving for work materials
- Limited display space means collectibles and non work material aren’t always displayed well
- Work table is too small for some larger works
- No upright long storage for his Waseca Biomes mats meaning we now lean them against his shelves with his work mat
This and the accompanying shelves shown here from Restoration Hardware seem perfect for us. Some big storage baskets like the large rope one shown above are also appealing but I’m not sure if my inner minimalist will love them in real life.
We will be sure to post pictures of the reno process and of course you will hopefully be seeing the finished space soon.
It’s amazing what can happen when you stand back and evaluate a place in your home through the needs of a child.