Here are some examples of what I mean. We set up things at Lolly's level, changing things round to keep her amused. We have a large amount of plastic (not quite Montessori, but hey...) but also have a lot of simple, everyday tasks and activities that Lolly loves to do. You can really see the concentration on each task, and the value of returning things to their place. I keep her tables clear, or put one or two things on them so she can focus, and then we put things away (okay, it's mostly me, but she does love to clean and help tidy). I tidy every night so the environment is clean and clear for our next day's fun! As she gets older, the more she does to help me do this, it's just normal for her. For small children, putting things away is often just as much fun as getting them out and doing them, and for me, sometimes the frustration is that putting it away reawakens her desire to do it more, and we have to get it all out again (this happens a LOT with play-dough) :D.
|The Bookcases in the lounge room|
|One of the tables set up with some of her music things|
|Lolly's peg boards and pegs in a basket|
I found this nice introduction to Montessori in the home here - this is part 1http://www.youtube.com/user/willowtreephoto#p/u/5/_9i-yESU-GY it's a simple explanation from a real world mother, showing her set up at home. The Monte book, available in pdf form for free here - The Joyful Child has some lovely ideas in it for all areas of the house.
I get a lot of inspiration from Montessori stuff, everything is just so lovely!, and from Steiner and unschooling sites and books as well, though we are nowhere near 100% Monte (check out the video collection in the bookcase shot - lol), nor are we planning on unschooling. There is so much to be learned from treating our children as people, adapting and changing to suit them, encouraging their natural ways of doing things, meeting them where they are at, respecting them as small people, not treating them as inferior beings that simply should be controlled until they are big enough to know better. Each of these learning philosophies embody those principles, so they are all worth drawing from.
I'm planning to write more about all this fun stuff in future, so stay tuned!