Sunday, January 8, 2012

Practical Life on a Budget

My small school, Dundee Montessori, is operated in my parent's original home that I inherited. I have no big board of directors or big school budget. I make every decision on every detail by myself or with the help of Miss Shirley, who has been a teacher with the school for 14 years.

As a creative person, as most Montessori teachers are, my goal has been to present unique and original works for my students to do each day. I often tell them that this school will be the only place they will ever handle cow bones, or hold a horseshoe crab, or do the cool, fun practical life works I cobble together from cast offs.

I love putting practical life works together. We call them "table works" at my school and I continue to put new exercises together even though my store room is filled. I adore estate sales and Goodwill and so I continue to buy very cheap objects and I continue to love finding a way to use them. For me it is like a puzzle I must figure out. I bought these napkins rings but what do I use them for?

Here are the works on my shelf now that have all come from estate sales or Goodwill. 
Every tray, dish or spoon has been a bargain! 

Metal tins fit the star basket to make an attractive spooning work

Fuzzy pipe cleaners poke into this salt shaker.

Q-tips down the hole!

Sparkly pom poms drop into color coordinated napkin rings.

Those goofy ceramic kitchen animals with a spoon for a tail becomes one of our favorite works. 
Many different pieces from all different places comes together perfectly. 

Indian brass incense burners become a lid and top matching work with a pink pom pom to add inside.

What to do with a unique tree shaped bottle and hair bands.

So, all that is old is new again and finds a new and useful life!
The unwanted cast offs are very much needed in my life as a Montessori teacher.


Liz said...

I couldn't agree more, what wonderful ideas! Our little ones are quite lucky to have such a resourceful teachers. :-)

We Can Do All Things said...

So many great ideas! Thanks

griffenhc said...

Your love for your job and of the kidos shines through in your home-made works. If I were a student I thinout would prefer them to the expensive store bought versions. They're personal and unique. It's kind of like getting a hand-made card instead of a hallmark. Kudos to you and thanks for the inspiration.

Deb Chitwood said...

I love your ideas, Carolyn ... creative and inexpensive! The way you lovingly search for practical life items adds to the beauty as well. Thanks so much for linking up with Montessori Monday. I featured your post at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page:

The Monko said...

what great trays. definitely bookmarking this post so I can refer back to it when I need some new ideas. Thanks for sharing

Unknown said...

Thank you, everyone! This is even more fun for me to do than teach clay class (see my many clay videos!)
Maybe I love it so much because of the estate sales that can make me hyperventilate with excitement!
And then to come back and match things up!

Sierra @ H is for Homeschooling said...

Wow! I am really impressed at all the great things you found for a bargain! With two little ones and not a lot of time between naps, I tend to go to the dollar store, but I am sure having the fortitude to hunt at Goodwill and estate sales pays off with quality.

I am a new follower and hope you will follow me as well :)

And I would love for you to share this post at my tray link party!

Sierra @ H is for Homeschooling said...

Thank you for sharing this post at WOTT! I featured one of your trays (the toothbrush holder one) so feel free to use the featured button if you would like to. I hope that I can use your great ideas to pay attention to things that other people consider "junk" and use it to make learning more fun for my Boogie!

Anonymous said...

Im still learning from you, but Im trying to achieve my goals. I certainly love reading everything that is written on your site.Keep the tips coming. I loved it!

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

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Unknown said...

Thank you for the lovely comments. I am still making new works like these.

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