As part of the Prepared Environment, one of the first lessons a Montessori teacher gives her students is Rolling and Unrolling a Rug. While it is a simple task, it is indicative of how control of the environment lends itself to further study (with works on the rug) and fosters student independence and care of the Montessori classroom.
The teacher demonstrates the technique silently, using slow, precise movements. She begins by carefully taking a floor rug from the basket and carrying it with two hands. The rug is placed on the floor and carefully unrolled, smoothing with the hands as the rug is unrolled and gradually spread out on the floor. Once the rug is rolled out, the teacher walks carefully around the rug. This illustrates that the rug is a designated area for floor works, upon which the students do not step.
Next, the teacher demonstrates the process of rolling the rug. Again, this is done in silence, with controlled movements. As the rug is being rolled slowly with two hands, the sides are checked from time to time to assure proper alignment. Then, the tightly rolled rug is carried with two hands and returned to its original location.
At this time, an explanation is given to the children concerning the use of the rug for activities carried out on the floor with a reminder that the rug is for the materials, not feet. Also, as with all lessons, once presented, the children are invited to perform the task as needed or desired. They now have the freedom to choose this activity within the framework of their Prepared Environment!
Here is one of our students who happily volunteered to demonstrate the technique of unrolling a rug.