Organizing Your Montessori Materials

A common issue in Montessori classrooms is finding a way to organize card materials on the shelves. There are lots to choose from – baskets, folders, fabric pouches, bins with drawers – and many classrooms use more than one kind of method.

I like to use Akro plastic bins to organize cultural materials (especially 3-part cards). They have several great features – one is that they don’t take up much room in a shelf or cabinet, another is that they give your cultural area an organized look, and what I really like is that there’s a place at the front to put a piece of paper with the name of the work on it. Not only does this make finding work easy, but it also is easy for the child to write the title of the work on his/her paper when recording it.

I used to find these bins at the Container Store in a wide variety of colors. Now I am sad to say that the Container Store does not carry them anymore, at least in stores. A Google search is probably your best bet for finding a place to purchase bins like these.

To customize the bins for different areas of the classroom, use colored cardstock to make the labels that fit in the front. Here’s a picture of one of the white bins (size long/small, my favorite size), customized with light green cardstock for Botany:

I mentioned that I use a shoe cubby from Target to hold these bins. It’s from their “organize-it” line of more inexpensive shelving. They may sell this line only at stores; I surfed their website for awhile and couldn’t find it there. It was amazing how the long/small bins fit in each shoe cubby perfectly. These work great in preschool or elementary classrooms. As you can see from the picture, you can fit a lot of work in small space:

Several of you have asked questions about how I work with my son. So, next time I’ll share what I do with him on a daily basis. Look for it soon!