Friday, June 6, 2014

This not that

As I mentioned in my last post, I have pretty strong opinions (that you won't convince me to change) about the aesthetics of learning environments for young children (actually for all children).  I like to describe my viewpoint as "not wanting my classroom to look like the teacher store threw up in it".  You know what I mean, right?  I was guilty of this as a new teacher.  There are SO many cute decorations, bulletin board borders, posters, cut-outs, etc.  It is hard to resist.  It wasn't until I took training to be a Montessori teacher that I realized how all the cutesy stuff is really for the adults, not the kids.  If you don't believe me, I challenge you to do this.  If you know a little person who has been a student in a classroom that is decorated in the style of cute-to-the-max, just ask them, off-handedly, an open-ended question such as, "What was your favorite thing about Ms. So-andSo's classroom?"  I can pretty much assure you that their response will NOT have anything to do with bulletin board borders or cute room decor.  Most likely, they will mention their friends, their favorite toy or material, etc.  Now, you nay-sayers may be thinking that a young person from  a non-cutesy classroom might also mention friends and materials, not decor.  And you are right!!  And that's the point!  The cutesy stuff doesn't matter to them.  And in many cases it is so visually distracting and creates so much visual clutter that the environment does not feel relaxing and peaceful and can, in fact, detract from learning.

I believe that children deserve to learn in a very carefully prepared environment.  One that is free from extra clutter on the walls, on the shelves, on counters, etc.  Instead of cutesy posters on the wall like this.
Source:  Amazon

Product Details

How about a piece of handmade art like this?  This beautiful pegboard cross-stitch was made by Allison from Dream a Little Bigger.   Love it!!  I want to replicate this in some way for my classroom.  Unfortunately, I don't have much empty wall space.  One is windows, two are white board/bulletin board combos, and the fourth is cupboards.  It would look lovely in my house too, though.

Gigantic cross stitch wall art tutorial at Dream a Little Bigger

Or a project that the class has worked collectively on?  Or individual children's art, tastefully displayed? There are many options for enhancing an early childhood environment with aesthetically beautiful decorations that acknowledge a young child's ability to appreciate loveliness.


  1. Your previous blogs are my go to favorites so I am excited to see you starting a new one. Your posts always inspire me and help me become a better teacher so I thank you for taking the time to write. I wish you all the best on your new adventure.

  2. I'm excited to follow your journey as well. I love your Montessori blog and the many ideas you posted.
    I have also studied about classroom environments - especially in relations to children with trauma and special needs related to brain growth - and keeping the rooms simple without all the extras is so vital to their growth and development. It is less distracting and more beneficial to easing stress and aids focus on education. I have found few teachers who agree. It was interesting to read you had similar beliefs.
    Congrats on your new position. I look forward to reading more about your new adventures.

  3. YAY! My first comments. Thanks so much for stopping by, Mamma Sass and Isabel. I am happy to have you join me on the journey.