I regularly observe the girls. Watching to see what items that are working with, what items should be rotated out. How they are working with certain items and seeing if new work needs to be introduced. It was during one of these periods of observation that I noticed E working with the object permanence box. She was laying on her side in deep concentration. Putting the ball on the tray and taking it off, repeatedly. Then V rolled over and grabbed the ball, breaking E’s concentration and interrupting her work. At that moment, I wondered if I should intervene and how. While I decided against it, I realized that there needed to be a way for the girls to work uninterrupted.
Now, I should explain, when they generally take items away from each other, a teether or ball, I let them work it out (as long as no harm is coming to each other or the item). This has worked well, for singular items. But when it came to work with more than one part, like the permeance box with a ball, there are times they need to be uncumbered. That’s when the Montessori floor mat came to mind.
The purpose of the Montessori floor mat is to be able to clearly define workspace. The mat is plain, made to fade into the background, thus allowing the work to be at the focus. Before the girls were mobile I often used a solid blanket in place of a rug (limited space), for the same reason.
That being said, I didn’t plan on introducing their Montessori floor mats at 8 months old. I looked forward to when they would be able watch, and mimic, how I rolled and unrolled the mat. How I would sit at the edge with work in front of me, then carefully roll, carry, and store it in its proper place once finished. With time, we will be able to do that. For the time being, this is how their needs are being met.
How are we currently using the floor mat? I bring it out when I am introducing a new work, when working with them, or when they are working and need boundaries. If V is working on the mat and E comes along, I redirect E so that V can continue concentrating. With time, they’ll come to understand and respect the boundaries of the mat, but for now I will assist.
The mats we are currently using are from Ikea. While I would prefer it to be without fringe, the size and colour is ideal.
Do you use a Montessori floor mat? When did you start or plan to?