Well, the Playful Spaces course has finished which is a bit sad, I was really enjoying it. This is the first time I have joined an ecourse so I had no idea what to expect. Basically Mariah had set up a Flickr group and the each week we were sent a video and links related to the weeks subject matter. Everyone was encouraged to share their pictures on flickr and there was a discussion thread for each week. Mariah also had Pinterest boards for each week too.
I got quite a of out of the course but I think I would have got more out of it if I had done it say 4 years ago when I was starting out with Montessori and back then there wasn't so much information out on the net. So, I think the course is absolutely perfect for those just starting to set up their home for little ones or people with older kids who want to improve their home set up, it is amazing how much difference small tweaks here and there can make. The course isn't a Montessori course but Mariah draws on the Montessori philosophy along with Reggio Emilia both of which have similar idea on how a work and play space should be presented to the children.
The part I enjoyed the most was the sharing of peoples homes, part because I am nosey person (get that from my mom) and partly because it was a great way to get fresh ideas, use and adapt ideas that other people have and all the feedback you get when you post pictures, ideas on how to improve the space, links to useful sites etc. It is all very well seeing beautiful homes set up by people with plenty of money and of course if you are reading a book they are set up for the camera shoot but these are pictures of real people with real homes and real kids to mess them up!
I also spent very little money on the changes I made but managed to change the house around quite a bit, a lot of the things I need I already had and most of the changes were really just a re-organisation of the space, I suppose it is like anything though, you could go out and buy all the recommended items and spend a small fortune or you can work with what you have got.
The biggest change for us was the studio, see, I even re-named the room! The way that it is set up now means that we can both work in there at the same time, everything is better organised and most of the Montessori equipment that he needs is already out. One of the smallest changes was moving a paper holder off his desk, since I have done that we can see his desk and it no longer looks like a paper Mount Fuji, small change, massive difference.
It is easy to get to get stuck in a rut and doing this course put me back on track, thank you to Mariah for all her help and advice and to all the other students for their input and all the new connections I have made, it has been great fun!