Open & Accessible Montessori Art Space for My Preschooler (Update)

Our family of 3 lived in a rented one-bedroom apartment for three years. When our one-bedroom apartment lease ended last December, we felt ready to move to a new environment.

We were relieved that the move meant sharing of fewer communal spaces (hence safer in this pandemic climate), and the bigger space meant more physical room for our now preschooler to enjoy freedom of movement at home.

Open & Accessible Montessori Art Space for My Preschooler (Remodelled)

Open & Accessible Montessori Art Space for My Preschooler (Remodelled)

Open & Accessible Montessori Art Space for My Preschooler (Remodelled)

Open & Accessible Montessori Art Space for My Preschooler (Remodelled)

With the luxury of additional space, I could relook into expanding and updating my preschooler's art space (our old art space was the bottom row of a 3-tier bookshelf in this post).

The principles of the art space being open and accessible remained; my preschooler could freely (but responsibly) use materials and tools. With a bigger space, I was excited to introduce new tools to expose my preschooler to more ways of creative expression.

Here's sharing a picture tour of the new art space as well as the design intent for the setup.

Tour of Our Remodelled Art Space & Design Intent

Our new art space consists of a corridor area in our new place that's between two perpendicular walls. This is how one of the walls looks.

Open & Accessible Montessori Art Space for My Preschooler (Remodelled)

The upper wall area which is out of reach displays my daughter's framed artworks or canvas pieces. This celebrates her creativity and shows we value her creations.

The lower wall area is within reach of my daughter (at her height), so she is encouraged to select and put up artworks she particularly takes pride in. Hanging pegs, pegboard, a small wall shelf (for object displays, not paper) are great for children to independently put up artworks.

Open & Accessible Montessori Art Space for My Preschooler (Remodelled)

Open & Accessible Montessori Art Space for My Preschooler (Remodelled)

The peg board is also useful for hanging up cleaning tools like scrubbers and art tools like scissors. I like that the permutations and combinations can be changed up easily with the tray accessories on the peg board.

Open & Accessible Montessori Art Space for My Preschooler (Remodelled)

This is a DIY trash bin made from a tall cardboard box. I like that it's tall so even if it gets toppled over, not all contents spill out easily. I also included a twine handle for easy transport to the main trash bin.

Erratum: 垃圾 are the correct Chinese characters.

To the left of this DIY trash bin is a recycle bin. It's a metal wire basket from a thrift store which holds cardboard and paper scraps, left over from my daughter's art-making. My daughter can also help herself to the materials here for art and craft.

Open & Accessible Montessori Art Space for My Preschooler (Remodelled)

This is the other side of the wall in the art space. The art display at the top is out of reach for my daughter, but the front-facing wall shelf is within her reach. This little wall shelf houses activity books like stickers, mazes, tracing and spot the difference picture puzzles.

Open & Accessible Montessori Art Space for My Preschooler (Remodelled)

I usually grab one of these activity books, along with an upcycled cup of color pencils on the shelf beneath for long car rides. Having color pencils placed in a cup makes it easy for bringing onto car journeys - keeps everything together and conveniently fits my daughter's child car seat holder.

Open & Accessible Montessori Art Space for My Preschooler (Remodelled)

Most commonly used art supplies are placed on the top of the low shelf, like paint, paper shape cutters, crayons, dot markers, post-its, stencils, washi tape, pencils etc. Less commonly used supplies are compartmentalised into the shelf cubes like ribbon scraps, jotter books, a box of recyclable materials (toilet paper rolls, paper plates etc).

Open & Accessible Montessori Art Space for My Preschooler (Remodelled)

Open & Accessible Montessori Art Space for My Preschooler (Remodelled)

It's costly to buy containers to categorise everything. I save used food containers for this purpose.

Tip: I also fold down kraft paper bags to form little bins which can store many irregularly shaped loose items, and are flexible to fit into tight spaces.

Open & Accessible Montessori Art Space for My Preschooler (Remodelled)

The art trolley is segmented into 3 zones:

  • Keepsakes: Where Miss 3.1 spaces her completed artworks which I will subsequently file.

  • Colored paper: A stash of construction paper for my daughter to use independently.

  • Explore: Little bins to store nature loose parts including those brought home from outdoors (pine cones, leaves, twigs, rocks, shells etc). These can be purposed for craft or sensory play.

Open & Accessible Montessori Art Space for My Preschooler (Remodelled)

There is a kraft ring folder at the bottom (not pictured but will be linked below), and that is where I neatly keep all art keepsakes. The small brown envelope on the side stores smaller loose cut-outs and scratch art notes.

Open & Accessible Montessori Art Space for My Preschooler (Remodelled)

Open & Accessible Montessori Art Space for My Preschooler (Remodelled)

Open & Accessible Montessori Art Space for My Preschooler (Remodelled)

Links

Furniture:

Art supplies:

Notes on control of error

I've learnt a lot from Montessori on Mars regarding introducing control of error for children to exercise self-control and do self-correction when it comes to independent use of their art supplies.

For instance, instead of providing a big paint palette or container for my child to place paints, I used to provide her with small plastic caps to squeeze/pump different paint colors into. This empowers them to visually assess if the caps are full, and stop squeezing/pumping on their own accord.

Another practical life hack I've learnt from Montessori on Mars would be placing an elastic band around a clear cup which my daughter uses to fetch water from the tap for her painting. This helps her visually assess that she has filled the cup to the desired water level, ensuring it isn't too full to spill on the floor when she carries the cup to the table, and that the water isn't too little for washing of paint brushes.

My previous art space post shares common questions fielded from my Instagram community regarding an open and accessible art space. I hope the post is useful in empowering children to use their art materials responsibly and helping carers set clear boundaries for the use of the art space.

I hope you enjoyed this art space tour!

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Hi! I am Yunnie. I am the newly minted mama to a little baby girl and a mum friend to everyone on this special (and many times scary) journey of motherhood. Also a graduated bride with a penchant for weddings.

Hi! Thank you for taking time to read my blog. I am a stay-home Singaporean mama living in Seattle who is passionate about child-led and open-ended play for children in a conducive home environment.

Discovering Montessori and Reggio has been a life-changer for me. It made me an empathetic and mindful parent who follows my child’s needs and interests in the activities I plan at home. I hope the Montessori-friendly and Reggio inspired baby and toddler activities I share here inspire you too.

Happy reading!