It should not come as a surprise that many items were collected for the classroom during my family’s stay in St. Petersburg last winter and spring.  In addition to numerous books, cultural artifacts, and souvenirs, I purchased a coveted set of Cyrillic Sandpaper Letters (to be introduced to the children later).  While preparing the classroom over the summer, my thoughts kept returning to the same theme, “Where am I going to put these items as they are introduced?” I think many Montessori teachers face the same challenge  – Do we ever have enough shelf space?!

The materials should have particular meaning to my students as they discussed my whereabouts during my absence from the classroom and they learned much about Russia.  It is important that a special place in our environment be created given the special significance of the topic for my students.  With a few things rearranged, there was space for, you guessed it- more shelves:

They are small, but serve the purpose of creating a separate area for our cultural and language items from Russia.  The top is reserved for a beautiful class journal the children made during my time away (top left), along with what has become a trademark of our classroom – a copy of The Littlest Matryoshka with a matching set of nesting dolls.  I have replaced the dolls with a brand new set from St. Petersburg (I ended up having to search the whole city for just the right ones!!!).