The Montessori Work Rug
Welcome to Lesson 4 of the Montessori Homeschooling 101 Series!
Today we are discussing the Montessori Work Rug!
(This is sometimes called the Montessori Work Mat! Same thing.)
This is one of the greatest parenting hacks of all time - whether or not you are Montessori-style homeschooling!
Basically, you teach your child to use a small rug or towel (2 ft by 3 ft) to contain her work (or play) materials.
The rug serves as a boundary in three ways:
- The child's materials stay on the rug.
- Other people (siblings, friends, family members - including Mom!) are not allowed to touch the materials on the rug without being asked.
- Only one material can be on the work rug at a time, so materials need to be put away before another work is chosen.
Imagine implementing this in your home for a minute.
Montessori tray work.
Are you liking the thoughts? Me, too.
You can do this!
Start slowly, and be very, very consistent with using the rug and cleaning up.
If your child walks away from the work/toys on the rug, I allow it. But when the child wants a new work/toy, the work must be finished then put away or just put away (depending on the situation) before a new activity can be used.
You can also implement a time limit. For example, before lunch all work and toys must be put away and rugs must be rolled and put away.
Work rugs can be used on the floor or the table - or you may have different rugs for different spaces.
I use $5 beige rugs from IKEA (IKEA SORTSO Rug), but you can find any small light-colored solid rug at any discount store (like Marshall's/Homegoods, TJ Maxx, etc.) You can also use a bath mat or a towel!
Show your child where the work rug is kept, how to get it out and unroll it, and then how to bring the work to the rug and keep it contained within the boundaries of the rug.
Make sure to show your child how to roll it up and put it away, too!
To encourage your child to roll it tightly, show him or her the "stand-up test." If it is rolled tightly enough, it will stand up when you place it on its end! (Test this with your work rug first before insisting it should stand. Most do, but if you're using a towel it won't work!)
Lastly, I teach my toddlers "clap, hands in your lap!" when watching a sibling do work. No hands, no taking. The children can only choose work from the shelves and never ask to use a work another child is using. You make your own rules! :)
Have fun with the work rugs! It can be life-changing...
If you're looking for more lessons in the Montessori Homeschooling 101 series, here are the links:
- Lesson 1: Finding a Space to Do Montessori Lessons
- Lesson 2: Where to Buy Montessori Materials & DIY Alternatives
- Lesson 3: Setting Up Your First Month of Montessori Lessons
- Lesson 4: The Montessori Work Rug
- Lesson 5: The Montessori Work Cycle
- Lesson 6: The Montessori 3 Period Lesson
- Lesson 7: Freedom within Limits in a Montessori Homeschool
- Lesson 8: How to Follow Your Child
- Lesson 9: Incorporating Other Homeschooling Methods
- Lesson 10: Giving Yourself the Freedom to Leave Things Out
- Lesson 11: Working with Multiple Ages