Unschooling Waldorf/Montessori style in action
I apologize for this reply being so photo heavy, but unschooling is so intertwined with living that I essentially took photos of all the rooms in our home so you can see our external interpretation of Waldorf, free of Anthroposophical dogma
. As you'll be seeing, our home does not look like a typical Waldorf home--we have lots of color, no silk canopies, no playstands, toys made of a variety of media, and some Montessori "academic-type" activities. However, if you just let go of the whole "It must be made of solid wood and scented with lavender oil!" concept (sometimes small budgets just don't allow for that, and until recently we've been living off of one student income), you'll see that many of the toys we have are of the same "essence"--they are open-ended, imaginative, and allow for lots of creativity. Waldorf/Montessori have influenced how we have our playspace set up but in unschooling style, we follow dd's lead. Of the academic "jobs" (per Montessori parlance) we have, they have all come about after dd has demonstrated a desire or need for that activitiy in other ways. One of the things I like about her toys is that they are so open-ended that they can be used for years to come. I also like that since we unschool I can feel free to pick and choose what things I like from different pedagogies (please refer to my previous post for more details if you haven't read it already), and being "on the fringe" I have learned to see both Waldorf and Montessori limitations and short-comings. But being "on the fringe" also can be a lonely place because you get snubbed by many purists. Oh well. Enough philosophizing . . .
So, how about a tour of our tiny home? (We live in a 2 bedroom apt. currently).
First up, our seasonal decorations.http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-177F.jpghttp://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-174F.jpg
For each upcoming holiday, I decorate our door and the wall space beside it. I usually also do a seasonal nature scene on part of our dining room table, but after taking down one billion Christmas decorations, I'm going to skip that step this winter season (winter's barren anyway, right?). DD arranged all the hearts on the wall, hence the rather interesting placement, and the map is because she is currently very interested in learning geography (she just turned 3, and I've heard this is a big 3 y.o. thing).
I've found this seasonal wheel is so much fun for understanding the months and seasons. DD loves it. We also have a month song that we sing along with some Elsa Beskow books and the Gerda Muller picture books to help with an understanding of the seasons:http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-194F.jpg
Next comes dd's play kitchen that is in a small nook between our front closet and the living room space.http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-173F.jpghttp://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-201F.jpghttp://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...MVC-202F-1.jpg
I did some close-ups of the felt foods that I cut out of crafting felt for her because I'm rather proud of them. I think they may have cost all of $3 to make and they are perfect for layering to make sandwiches or putting in soups, etc. The spice rack is also really neat because not only are these "real foods" that give the cool effect of being able to unscrew a jar to measure out the "ingredients" but dh just recently used the nutmegs as math manipulatives to help dd understand the concept of zero. Talk about multi-purpose!
Also, near her play kitchen is this bookcase filled with knick-knacks that dd can play with on their own terms or use to enhance a dining experience from her kitchen. We believe strongly in teaching children how to handle "adult" things properly and with great care, hence the glassware and crystal.http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...MVC-178F-1.jpg
Now, our main play area, our living room. This area is actually very small--probably 8' x 6'. On the left of the room there are more Waldorf-style things, and on the right more Montessori.
Looking toward the left: http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-157F.jpg
Schleich animal figurines, cars/trucks/trains, parking garage, and what I have termed the "random toy basket" bin where I put things that I have no idea where else to put: http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-171F.jpg
A closer look at the figurines on the shelves: http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-170F.jpg
Our nature baskets (these are so great for building forests, acting out stories, or even using as pieces in dice games): http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-169F.jpg
Our play fabrics, which consists of velvets, satins, and silks:http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-168F.jpg
Play fabrics in action (dd is making herself a swimsuit):http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-133F.jpghttp://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-139F.jpg
Farm set and homemade play mat up-close:http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-140F.jpg
Toys on the backside of the table:http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-167F.jpg
The Montessori side of our living room space:http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-214F.jpg
Shelving up-close (I love the Lauri pegboard on the bottom right. DD likes to use for planting her garden.) The puzzles are neat, too, because they not only are good for motor skills (you have to use a rod to catch fish and bugs) but dd catches the fish in her puzzle and then takes it to her kitchen to cook:http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-216F.jpg
Our homemade moveable alphabet following Montessori ideas of coloring the consonants and vowels differently. On the front of each card is the uppercase letter and on the back is the lower case. Also, there are numbers 0-9 for explaining numeration of quantities.http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...MVC-213F-1.jpg
Our game shelf and herb garden:http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-161F.jpg
Our homemade game box, opened (It contains a homemade wooden "Memory" style game and a color sorting activity):http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-162F.jpg
Connect Four is great for making patterns and honing motor skills:http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-164F.jpg
Our current science projects of sprouting an avocado seed (we recently finished a lima bean sprout) and an oil/water mixture study, along with our breakfast and lunchtime votive and some of the seeds for our spring garden.http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-180F.jpg
Down the hallway is our smaller bedroom where we essentially keep dd's stuffed animal collection (she loves them!), a wicker rocking horse, a sit and spin, and dd's climbing bar. She doesn't sleep in this room, as she still co-sleeps. http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-149F.jpghttp://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-150F.jpg
On to our master bedroom where she has an art wall with paper up continually and art supplies below for whenever the mood strikes:http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-144F.jpg
Here is the corner where I keep our "mommy is to supervise" art supplies:http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-145F.jpg
Our keyboard and instrument basket in our bedroom:http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-146F.jpg
Her playsets beside the keyboard and near our bed:http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-147F.jpg
Our bookshelf with knick-knacks for play, including some music boxes and her button collection:http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-148F.jpg
You can't beat a bathroom for sensory play. DD draws in the steam from my shower every day. She loves to draw mazes and dot games, currently, as well as people.http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-192F.jpg
Sink-time water play:http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-198F.jpg
Bathtime water play toys (which include pipettes, a water wheel, sea shells, animals to wash, watering cans, and buckets . . . and shaving cream: http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-190F.jpg
Continuing with sensory play, we have a sandbox outside on our balcony when the weather is nicer:http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-189F.jpg
And last, but not least, dd's new Waldorf doll arrived today. I guess I shouldn't include it here since we're putting it away for later but I'm so thrilled with how it turned out, I just had to post some pictures of it. I bought it from "Maineartisen" on Etsy and it was a custom order that she did in like 2 days. It was wrapped so beautifully when it arrived, too!http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-210F.jpg
And she even comes complete with bodice and pantaloons!http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...9/MVC-209F.jpg
Bless your heart if you actually looked at all those. I'm nothing if not verbose and thorough.
ETA: Oops! I totally forgot dd's shelves in the kitchen w/ homemade playdough and supplies and her spice rack with real spices that she shakes into water to make soup concoctions. She's the only 3 year old I know who can identify all the major herbs and spices by smell and look. You never know how much stuff you have until you try photographing all of it!