The Montessori work mat is used to define the student's workspace and to reinforce Montessori's principle of "freedom within limits." Montessori preschool students are shown how to walk around the mats, how to place their work on the mats and how to respect one another's personal workspace. They also learn that it's never okay to disturb a classmate's work or join a classmate's work unless permission is given to that student. (North American Montessori Center)
How amazing is that?? Doesn't it make you wish we could carry around mats with us EVERYWHERE (especially at work). One of the reasons I love this so much is because I think people put waaaaaay too much pressure on little's ones to "share" - long before they're developmentally ready. Don't get me wrong - when Kale is playing with the train set at the bookstore, we encourage him to share the trains. But when he's working on something that he is clearly focused on and learning from, I can only imagine how frustrating it would be for him if another kid came along and disrupted and then was told to share.
How to present the mat:
- Show your child where to get the mat (usually a basket), and then holding it with two hands, walk over to where you want to put it.
- Set the mat down and carefully unroll it.
- Walk around the mat, being careful not to touch it, before stopping to admire it.
- Carefully roll the mat up again, pick it up with two hands, and walk back over to put it away.
Here's a little demo from Kale:
Linking up with Living Montessori Now :)