Tour of The Hut, Possum Creek, Australia with Ruth Barker
Do I have a treat for you today. Well, I don’t know about you but I get so inspired when I get to peek into other Montessori classrooms. And Ruth Barker’s is one of the loveliest you might find.
The Hut is a Montessori toddler and preschooler classroom located in northern NSW in Australia in Possum Creek. A little slice of paradise. (To orient you, the nearest by place I recognised on the map was Byron Bay.)
It will also help dismiss the idea that you need a big space. Regulations allow Ruth to just use 47m2 of her property and she maximises every centimetre. A talent indeed to make the space not feel too cluttered and to still feel calm and beautiful. And I’m sure you will agree that Ruth has totally made this space work.
Ruth said we could make ourselves at home so let’s have a look around.
How inviting is this space. Everything laid out with such care. Dr Montessori talked about the importance of the prepared environment, ie, making things ready to attract the child to work with them. This is a fantastic example.
1. I love these stairs that Ruth had made to size to allow the toddlers and preschoolers to climb independently.
2. Watering plants outside
3. Beautiful artwork in the classroom
4. Plants on the shelf soften the space and brings a bit of outdoors in
1 + 2. The art and craft area is made attractive with pens and materials at the ready. It draws the child in ready to create.
3. A cleaning area – bins and brooms at the ready
4. An attractive area for food preparation
These are the areas for the preschoolers:
1.Sensorial materials like the pink tower
2. Practical life activities to refine pouring and hand work
3. Language materials including the metal insets to prepare the hand for writing, and
4. Maths materials including the spindle box (a favourite counting material)
1. The cultural area for the preschoolers is not to be overlooked – learning about different cultures is fascinating for children from around 3 years old.
2. I love the kitchen so the children can wash up or fetch water independently and easy to wipe down.
3. A self care area – with low mirror and self care items in the basket below. A low stool in the attached bathroom aids independence.
4. The shelves for babies’ materials – posting are favourites at this age
Ideas to steal
This tour hopefully has inspired you to make some changes at home. Ideas you could use at home:
- Have plants and nature in your space – I even saw there was a python skin in their classroom, something from their natural environment
- Have everything in its place – this gives a sense of calm to the space that everything has a place, children know where things belong and everything is easily accessible, right down to the cleaning area
- Beautiful artwork for the children to enjoy at their height
- Where possible make it possible for your child to have success – in this case, the stairs were built so the toddlers and preschoolers could manage by themselves. At home, it may be adding stool, hanging things low or looking for child-sized implements
- Look for baskets, containers and trays to hold the activities – it makes them not only attractive, allows the child to manage themselves and keeps everything together and organised.
Please note that this is a classroom and therefore there are many more materials in the environment to meet the many children that visit during the week. Our homes would have a few well-selected activities that our child is currently working on.
Before we go
To end, here is a beautiful quote from Ruth:
Engage children in activity that influences their movement, influences their sensory development, talk to them, read to them, sing to them, show them their world – both their local environment and the bigger picture…
…and then when they show a NATURAL INTEREST in academia, take them there.”
Ruth also has an online store with some beautiful Montessori materials and definitely worth taking a peek – she even ships internationally for AU$30.
Thank you Ruth for the inspiration. I hope one day we can get to come visit in person.