Montessori Elementary Homeschool Blog - with documentation of our infant Montessori, toddler Montessori, and primary Montessori experiences; as well as preparation for the upcoming adolescent Montessori homeschool years.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Elementary Supply Area

Anyone who has followed me via Keys of the Universe or Montessori Nuggets or any of the Yahoo groups to which I belong, has probably heard me talk about the elementary difference, using the example that the primary child needs trays with everything laid out and a supply shelf to replenish as needed (but still a limited quantity). The elementary child will use that supply shelf as their go-to place, along with a stack of empty trays from which to choose the most appropriate one for their work at the moment.

Here are some photographs to visualize what I am talking about:

Typical Primary level layout
(note the aprons hanging above)
yes, I'd like them laid out with handles to left/right
but this is the size of our shelf for now
Point: visual of all items; lots of trays;
items needed for an activity are mostly kept together


Elementary Supplies drawers for Geography (science) -
we need about 2 more of this size!
Each drawer is labeled with contents;
should be alphabetized.
to the left, you can see the side of our large supply shelf
for boxes and bottles of safe chemicals: baking soda,
vinegar, bottles of polish, bottles of glue, etc.
Elementary Charts, with some supplies up above
(note the blue ball in upper left corner -
layers of the earth that the children helped put
together with clay - not teacher-made ;)
you can see our black timelines, seasons strips,
timezone strips, lamp,
timelines below with our impressionistic charts

The supply shelf we used.
The drawers pull out to hold larger items
than the hardware drawers on the right. 

On the clay in the one above photo: I love elementary, because I can explore WITH the children - I don't have to know everything or even have all the materials on hand! They can help put things together; go through the planning process, decision making, budgeting, etc. and then the learning is truly MUCH more their own! 

Art supplies
(we've actually rearranged this recently - I'll update soon)
This set-up could apply to both ages;
with specific intro art lessons on individual trays nearby.

This is just part of what we have done - all these images are from our co-op but each photo shows something similar or exactly to how we had it at home (850 square foot, 2 bedroom, apartment - yep, I like elementary! It fits more into a normal household.)


  1. I am really interested in the content of your elementary supply drawers. Any chance you can give a detailed post? Thank you

  2. My drawers are still in-process, since we're adapting for what we have (there should really be more drawers...) :)

    It will be any small items used in elementary - if you had everything, it would include cotton balls in a large drawer (or these could be stored in another container); toothpicks, (non-drying) clay shapes, unformed non-drying clay, nuts/bolts, magnifying glasses, measuring spoons, other small spoons, balloons, playdough, thumbtacks, paperclips, magnets, prisms, food coloring, q-tips, staples, tape, funnels, particular stones/minerals, chunks of metal in non-descript shapes, eyedroppers, etc.

    You want the drawers to be alphabetized as much as possible - if you have different sizes, you need to adapt a bit for some items "out of order" (those could be alphabetized within themselves).

    Long narrow items such as average or larger spoons, stirring rods, bamboo sticks (and/or chopsticks), long knitting needles (used in science, not in knitting), etc, can be stored in jam jars or similar above the drawers or next to them.

  3. I have so many bits a bobs for the classroom and haven't managed to store them very well. I'll be ordering some drawers and setting this up. Thank you so much.