5 Basic Guides For Organizing Learning Materials At Home Or School

It’s truly a productive Sunday today. While my husband and daughter are out having a play date at the park, I get the opportunity to re-organize my learning materials and prepare them for our next lesson and theme. Moving from California to Florida was truly exhausting, yes really. Amidst of that major move, I was able to bring all my important learning materials and books that my daughter will be using for the following years to come. If your reading this right now and can relate how precious this learning materials are, then your a certified teacher or Montessorian at heart. Congratulations for being one! And since we have the same interests, I’m excited to share how I take care of my learning materials. The way I organize my stuff improves over the years as I find more ways to keep things accessible without wasting my time looking for my materials in a different places. Yes! Ive been to that too and Im no way going back to that unorganized method of myself anymore. I love organizing things because this gives me a peace of mind and personal achievement. If things are organized and in proper place, you know exactly where to find it saving your sanity and more importantly your precious TIME. Here’s my guide with photos of how I organize my learning materials. at school or at home.

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5 Basic Guides For Organizing Learning Materials At Home Or School

1. Invest in a high quality storage boxes or drawers.

Below shows photos of how I store my materials according to theme or unit of study. I also include in each box the books related to each unit. I prefer using clear individual boxes or drawer. For storage boxes, I recommend a latch type with extra storage space cover. If your learning materials are extra bulky this will hold the content without breaking the latches (I’ve been to that!). This style of organizations keeps my unit of study in one place with easy to see label.

Basically this are the learning materials that goes with each storage boxes

  • Books (my most important learning material)
  • Three part cards (ex. community helpers three part cards)
  • Puzzle/s (ex. bird puzzle)
  • Nomenclature cards (ex. bird nomenclature cards)
  • Model or miniature objects (ex. flowers)
  • Guide sheet or picture cards
  • lesson plan, song & poems related to the unit.
  • Other learning materials like felt board for story telling, posters & display banners, doctors bag, loose objects for creative play.

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My thematic storage for community helpers, Insects, Farm animals & reptiles.

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This are my storage boxes for geography, astronomy, dinosaurs and ocean animals.

2. Choose tools and machines you trust and will last for many years.

From my past blog, I posted about my daughter’s birthday gifts that are mostly Montessori inspired. Yesterday, I’m done laminating some three part cards for her Safariltd Toob sets.

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Laminating cards should not be expensive. I got this Fellows laminating machine as a gift five years ago and until now it never fails me. My three part cards and nomenclatures are mostly from Montessori Printshop. They always have free and sale items. Additionally, they use the card size that fits with my storage system.

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I been using Fiskars for cutting three part cards and nomenclatures for many years now. For my blade, I choose the one with Titanium blade coating. The difference from the regular one is the efficiency and sharpness of the blade. This can be reuse many times before it gets dull. This is a 2 pieces per pack. It saves you from buying more often of the regular blade.

3. Use shelving system that fits your criteria and budget.

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Last night, I finished organizing books that Audrey got from her birthday. I invest in this high quality book shelf from ECR 4 Kids. I love to showcase more books for my early reader at home so a five tier book shelf wins. It displays different sizes of books and also sturdy enough for my daughter who loves to step on it like a ladder while looking at the window when I ask her “Whats the weather today?” during our morning circle time.

4. Choose a simple easy to view storage system for small learning materials.

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I found this clear rectangular case at Daiso when I’m still at the Bay Area (SF) and I regret that I did not buy more of these. It perfectly fits a three part card with the objects then I place the other cards on top of it using a rubber. It’s easy to view what’s inside with an instant label!

5. Display learning manuals & books in an easy to see and reach shelving unit.

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I like my guide books handy when I need to take a quick look for a specific quotes and words from Dr. Maria Montessori.

How do you organize your learning materials? I hope this guide will be your inspiration and will be a great help with your home or school organizational task. Don’t forget to share this guide to your fellow teachers and parents who homeschool their kids.

“The teacher teaches little and observes much, and, above all, it is her function to direct the psychic activity of the children and their physiological development. For this reason I have changed the name of teacher into that of directress” (p. 173 TMM)

Montessori Activities From Daiso Items

I created some fun Montessori activities that can incorporate with other practical life activities. From my previous blog, I showed photos of my Daiso shop finds. I came up with some cute activities that your kids or students will love. The photos above are some of the activities I made.

IMG_6459Picture to Object Matching– This miniature wild animals are a perfect match for Picture to Object matching activity. You can do object to object matching, three part card with objects, safari theme sensory bin, or make a story line with these lovely animals.

 

IMG_6447Clothes hanging– I use the wooden box with wire on it then cut out mini clothes pattern from the felt material with the smallest clothespin to hang the clothes.

 

Pom Pom Sorting– I have this cute training chopsticks for kid which I also bought at Daiso last year. This is a great exercises for fine muscles for young ones. I pick three different colors of pom poms for sorting

 

 

Pipe cleaner threading into a golf ball- This activity helps to enhance and develop fine motor in early years of life. 

 

Felt Flower Sorting– Three colors of felt flower for sorting activity. You can add a matching colored felt pads for each cubes for the child to match the colors.

 

 

 DIY Smelling Bottles- These smelling bottles are my favorite. They are actually a pepper shaker. What I like about these bottles are just a right size for a child’s hand and another thing is it’s clear! You can also create a sound bottles from these. 

 

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 Quiet Book– I’m still in the process of finishing this quiet book made of felt for my little girl. The felts are also from Daiso and the felt stickers are bought from Michael’s. For now I have five pages of animals, flowers and cupcakes felt pages. I wanted to add more like shapes and colors. This is my very first time to make a quiet book for my daughter. Im starting with a simple pattern and basically a no sew quiet book. This activity is perfect for our long drive this month. 

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Things To Buy At Daiso For Montessori Classroom

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You are definitely a real Montessorian if you love shopping cute stuff at Daiso. They have a wide selection of things that can be useful for practical life, sensorial, language, mathematics, cultural and art. I’ve been a big fan of Japanese products ever since I was little.  Daiso have a vast selection of quality items from kitchen utensils, personal stuff to gardening. I love their wooden utensils, small wooden boxes and tray, miniature erasers, cleaning materials, baskets and many more. As I walk along the aisle of the shop, my brain was continuously making projects! Like “Ohhh that pepper shakers can be a smelling bottles”, “this  felt can be for cultural class”, and “this cute tray can be for sorting”. There’s a lot of ideas to collaborate to make a Montessori activities. You don’t need to spend a fortune specially for home school or small Montessori school.

Being a teacher and a mother, hunting for learning materials are my continuous goal that gives me that “thrill” of seeking something useful and valuable. I want to share to you my recent Daiso treasures. These are high quality items but inexpensive. You can incorporate these lovely finds in your Montessori classroom activities. It will save you a lot of money. Children love tiny objects and these are a perfect recommendation. Make extra precaution when you have toddlers in your class or at home. Majority of the items are for three years and older.

In this photo shows a couple of scooper, plastic balls with holes, pepper shaker, invisible tape, pencil sharpener and Japanese sound maker.

In this photo you can see three sets of felts with varying colors, soup spoon, wooden ladle, plastic storage and ziplock. All are $1.50 each. 

Note: The felt are of high quality material that you need to use a sharp scissor in able to get the sharp edge you want to create a nice project.

Wooden box for metal inset paper. 

Note: this might not be the same as the standard size but I’m going to create my version instead.

 

Four section wooden box for sorting activity.

 

Wooden hour glass-I use this for our “silence game”.

 

img_6449Trays- High quality sturdy tray with handles. The size is just right for tiny hands.

 

This miniature erasers are my ultimate find. It doesn’t look like an eraser due to the detail and craftsmanship of each piece. Also above is a pack of clear bags for my nomenclature and three-part cards.

I know that not all 50 states and countries have Daiso shop. Here’s a list of other go to places to score some materials for your classroom.

Alternatives if you don’t have Daiso in your area:

1. Dollar Tree or any Dollar Store– Offers wide arrays of products that can be useful for practical life, math, sensorial, language and arts & crafts.

2. Goodwill Shops or Thrift StoreYou can find items that are kept on original packaging as in unopened. Be patient you can always find one. Or  kitchen utensils for practical life-like small pouring containers, soup spoon, ladles, mini rolling-pin, small bowls, stainless steel pitcher, cutting board and other stuff you will need in your Montessori home or classroom.

3. Yard Sale or Garage Sale– Some residential areas held a weekly sale or once a month. This is a great place to go. Sometimes some residents just wanted to get rid of their old stuff so they will offer it for free. Take it! Anyway “one man ‘s trash is another men’s treasure.

4. Offer Up– This is an app for smart phone wherein you can buy or search for a particular item in your area. Make an offer then buy the item. You either pick it up or meet ups. I used this app when I was still pregnant. I’m looking for a particular Italian brand wooden changing table and luckily I found it here.

5. Michael’s- They always have the miniature objects like animals, fruits, vegetables, little house items, baskets, wooden trays, wooden miniatures and plants and more things necessary for your projects.

6. Amazon They offer a very wide selection of wooden toys and small items, miniature animals, kitchen utensils for children, apron, baskets, trays and many stuff. Name it and they definitely have it!

I hope you will find all the things you need for your Montessori environment from the shops mentioned above. On my next blog, I will show you the Montessori activities I created from these items bought from Daiso.

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Treasure Basket Or Discovery Basket For Toddler 

 

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I wanna share my discovery basket that I gathered today to include to my little daughter’s Montessori shelves. This is made of different colors, shapes, textured objects. The brush was embedded with the other stuff so not quite visible but I can see it. Here it goes, a simple “toddler discovery basket” or “treasure basket”. I chose to put a simple objects only. I can always add more items at a time. Babies and toddlers loves to explore with all their senses that more often they will also taste the object and put it in their mouth.

Here is another photo of a simple treasure box. This is mostly made from natural items like wood, sea shells, dried bark, dried seed and I included a fabric flower too! The one on top had more objects on it with a combination of items made with non natural material. You can put whatever objects you like as long as the child could explore on it using her senses. Resources around you can be vast. It can be purely from the nature or garden, a selection of toys, different fabric, large beads, cotton, bottles, pine cone, wooden brushes.
Hape – Pallina Bamboo Tumbling Ball Game

Discovery basket or Treasure basket- Are a collection of objects that we can easily find around the house or garden. This is given to a child when they are ready to sit. The purpose of Treasure Basket is to give the child the opportunity t0 explore and discover the objects using their five senses; sense of sight, touch, taste, hear and smell.

You can always change the theme or add more objects to your treasure basket to make it more appealing to your child’s eyes. Your baby’s senses are also improving while she’s growing so it’s very important to give her objects appropriate to her age. If she’s turning two or toddler stage you can add variety of objects like wooden spoon and forks,wooden blocks, little kitchen stuff, jumbo colored pom pom, tube cylinder with water or objects inside (make sure that it’s close tightly), maracas and many more items right for the child’s age.

I will be showing more themed treasure box on my future blogs. Follow my blog to get more ideas and insights about Montessori method of learning. Please share this post to your friends. Sharing is Caring!

May 2, 2016 -Update to my Discovery Basket

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Discovery basket with more objects
This is an update to my discovery basket I posted a week ago. I added more objects on it like small stuff sensory animals, wooden hour glass, wooden cubes and change the basket into a bigger one.

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