This last week clearly illustrated for me, the importance of
rugs in the Montessori classroom. Our school is currently fighting by lice and
we had a case in our classroom. After a little bit of freaking out on my part,
I took action and put away all fabric made things from the room (as much as
possible). This included the touch fabrics, the pillow of our book corner
rocking chair, the mystery bag game, all blind folds, all aprons, and of
course, all rugs!
This was particularly frustrating as we were just in the third
week of school and had just begun getting used to the classroom procedures and
routines. We did learn to have “imaginary rugs” by making lines in front of us
in the hopes of keeping works somewhat organized. But overall, it was chaotic!
Now here are my thoughts.
1.Personal Space- Of course, the most important aspect
of using rugs in the Montessori environment is that of determining personal space.
Rugs allow children to have their space clearly visible allowing them to
organize their works in front of them and making it clear to others. This
allows children to learn organize their space and to respect of others' space.
Now without rugs, we see works going in many different
directions and with no clear determination of what belongs to whom. We also see
children working almost on top of each other and works getting mixed up. This is
2.Care of Materials- As illustrated above, rugs
allow materials to have designed space. This makes it easier for children’s
work to be organized but also keeps materials safe from being stepped on as we
learn to walk around rugs. It also makes the materials standout.
rugs, I noticed how much harder it was to do works on the dark carpet we have
on our floors. The materials looked dull and were harder to see. I kept
tripping over materials and the children walked over some accidentally!
3.Routine- Without rugs our whole routine was
thrown off. I noticed it particularly with myself. When I invite a child to a
new presentation, I always say something along the lines of “go get a rug and I
will meet you there in 1 minute.” This allows me to finish what I am doing or
jot down a note or two.
Without rugs, I was ready to pull out my hair! I
had less transition time or ways to direct children as I made my way to them. A few of the children also struggled with the lack of routine as they are in a sensitive period for order.
Yet even without rugs, most the children worked happily. They continued
to learn and they continued to help each other. The loved their lessons and
moved about without worrying. A few children really felt the out of routine-ness
of it all but none felt it as I did! Children need routine but we teachers do too.
I cannot wait to return to the classroom tomorrow and return the rugs to their
sacred place. This past week really taught me to appreciate the importance of
rugs and I will never present them in the same way again!