Sunday, May 20, 2012

Using Mats: Defining Your Workspace

For work done on the floor, use a mat.  Teach your child to roll up the mat and put it away when done.  Start at one end, say, "Roll. Tap, tap," as you roll a little and stop to align the edges.
We do most of our work on the floor.  Long before Alleluia could choose her work by herself I showed her how to get a mat, carry it to a good spot, unroll it and put our stuff on top.  Though this ritual is most helpful in busy classrooms with limited floor space, it's also helpful at home.  It formalizes the act of choosing, beginning and ending a work.  It also makes her think about whether it's more of a "table work" or a work to be done on the floor.

So far our only challenge with floor work has been our dog.  Apparently he didn't get the memo explaining the rules:  we NEVER step on the mat!

You can find inexpensive mats all over the place, even the dollar bins at Target.  Just think about how flat you want them to be (it's depressing to try to build a big tower out of blocks if the foundation isn't level!) and whether you want to be able to wash them.

Store the mats rolled up somewhere accessible to your child.  I use an old wicker trash can (it's clean....).  The REALLY BIG mat (the mat that's actually a table runner) is also stored here.

Some classrooms ask the children to place their nameplate on their mat to establish it as their space, their work.  What rules do you have in your classroom?


  1. This is great! I am really learning a lot. The mat is a fundamental concept I never really understood.

  2. Another thing I should mention is the "indirect preparation" for reading and writing. Like a page, the mat is rectangular and we usually organize our work with a left/right, top/down approach. If our native tongue were a language that is read and written right to left instead, we would organize our work on the mat accordingly. Pretty cool, eh? :)