Today I want to share with you just how much I LOVE the aspect of my job as a Montessori guide that is "preparing the environment." I could spend hours upon hours organizing my classroom--arranging & rearranging the beautiful Montessori materials in order to make them the most accessible & aesthetically pleasing as possible, all while keeping in mind the tendencies and characteristics of the elementary child. If you are new to Montessori, part of the teacher's job is to prepare the classroom environment to suit the developmental needs of the child.
More specifically, the Montessori prepared environment should:
- Serve the whole child--their physical, mental, & spiritual needs
- Consist of furniture & shelving that is properly sized for the children
- Include high-quality, natural materials that are developmentally appropriate
- Include quality resources that support further learning
- Be kept clean, organized, and in proper repair
- Include the proper supplies & materials to allow the children to take part in the care and maintenance of the environment
Since the new year has arrived & school is back in session, I figure that it's the perfect time to reevaluate the classroom environment. Take inventory. What is working and what isn't? Preparing the environment is definitely an on-going, never-ending process.
That last dot point is what today's post is about. Perhaps because cleaning the classroom is SO important during this germy time of year! I have curated some of my favorite cleaning supplies from all around the web that would be well-suited for the elementary Montessori classroom. They are quality materials that would make cleaning more intriguing for the children!
I'll start with dusting. This really can't be overlooked because–all those shelves & materials! And, you know, dust happens.
- This Lambswool Duster is from Montessori Services. It's 9" long and perfect for shooing away those dust bunnies hiding in small places.
- For larger surfaces, I love this Lambswool Duster from World Market. They also carry feather dusters & wool dusters that would work well.
- Finally, the Ritz Duvateen Flannel Dusting Cloths are a MUST HAVE. These are professional quality, reusable, and long lasting. You can purchase a set of two from Crate & Barrel or a set of six from World Market.
Laundry. At most Montessori schools I've seen, the children take the dirty laundry home once a week, and bring it back clean & ready to be folded.
- These Large Rectangular Crunch Cans by Umbra are up to the task! They are available at the Container Store. I first learned about these awesome carryalls from this post written by Heather Sanders from Pioneer Woman Homeschooling. The colors have since changed, but the durability hasn't. A real game changer in my book! Plus, they crunch flat for easy storage.
- A good, sturdy drying rack is necessary in any elementary Montessori classroom. This one from World Market can easily be folded and put away when not in use.
Sweeping. From crumbs to paper scraps to glitter and sequins, sweeping happens all throughout the day, everyday in the elementary classroom.
- The Mint Smiley Dustpan from (you guessed it!) World Market will give any child something to smile about!
- The Fuller Carpet Sweep from Crate & Barrel is professional quality, lightweight, and durable.
- This Dustpan + Brush Set from West Elm is beautiful. The small set is great for crumbs & the large set works well for bigger messes. That said, these are a bit expensive for classroom purposes. But I would definitely buy these for the children to use at home!
- At $7.99, this Bamboo Brush & Dustpan from the Container Store is a steal! Plus, it can easily be hung on the wall when not in use.
And, just to round out the list, I have added a few other items that would be useful for cleaning the classroom environment.
- I'm in LOVE with these natural fiber bottle brushes from Anthropologie. They come in 3 sizes--small, medium, and large. They can be used to clean water bottles & other dishes OR science beakers & test tubes! They come in several beautiful, color options. Who wouldn't want to clean if it means you get to use these fun brushes?!
- Sometimes, you just need Goo Gone. There's no way around it. For those sticky & tough to clean jobs that pop up in the classroom, the Goo Gone Mess Free Pen is essential.
- This Metro Aluminum Spray Bottle is perfect for surface cleaner. And, of course, you'll need to fill it. Check out this recipe for a DIY all-natural, all-purpose cleaner from Julie over at Home Ready Home.
Preparing the environment can be so much fun! I hope this post provides you with some inspiration to get you going.
What cleaning supplies do you keep in your classroom? Any favorites? Please share in the comments!