I never quite knew what to do with this wall when we moved in. I am glad I waited patiently before jumping to hanging stuff up! This was the perfect wall to display a linear calendar, which takes up quite a bit of space for its visual display of the year’s entirety. This display is what makes it Montessori-friendly because it’s a concrete visualization to an otherwise abstract concept for young children. I love that my son can better see how the days fit into a week, which fit into a month, which fits into the year.
I am not normally patient or creative enough to DIY projects, but I decided to attempt this one on my own. I’m really happy with the way it turned out!
Here’s how I did it:
- I used the Canva app to design the banners for the months, and then printed them at home.
- I made a blank grid with 31 slots on Word, and printed out 12 copies. Then I cut off whichever months only needed 30 slots; 28 for February.
- I laminated all of the print-outs, and tried to keep the dog fur out as best I could 😉
- I used a dry-erase marker to write the dates and days of the week on each copy. I probably could have saved major time had I slowed down to type this part out before printing! Oops.
- I purchased sticky reusable color tabs, and chose pink to identify the weekends, yellow to identify birthdays, blue to identify travel. I found these easier than stickers because the slots for the days are so narrow.
- I hung up the display using nails, and found a small white clothespin that we can use to identify the current day. (In the pictures I had a blue chip clip, but it proved to be too big and difficult to clip on).
- I repurposed a bulletin board strip and drilled it above the calendar, where I hung up some photos in chronological order featuring highlights of our year thus far. I need to use photo paper next time, as the photos have since curled up.
I’d also love to add lower bulletin boards where my son can hang up artwork and projects from school! For now, this has been super engaging as is!
It’s good fine motor work for him to carefully move the clothespin to the current day. When we begin a new month, I can visually show him how we are moving from the previous to the new. He loves talking about family birthdays, and is always going up to it trying to see when the next birthday is. Now when he asks, “When’s Ellie’s birthday? Is it tomorrow?” I can show him where November is and how far that is compared to tomorrow, rather than just tell him “November,” which is otherwise meaningless to him.
I think it’s calming for him to have something concrete like this to grasp, especially since routine is not something we can always rely on as a military family. Change is our norm and daddy does not work a predictable schedule. This gives us a nice blank slate to showcase additional changes beyond holidays and birthdays!
I also feel more engaged in it than I thought I would be. I initially designed it for my son, but I am drawn to it even as an adult. While it visually looks massive to my son, it is the opposite for me. It is grounding and humbling to see our family year condensed on the wall, and it inspires me to stay connected and present as we move through each day, week, month. It’s going to be so special to see all the memories we’ve made by the year’s end!
I was inspired to do this project after feeling the pressures of teaching time to my kids. What started as me rushing them to my level has now been slowed to me meeting them on their level. Here’s an article I wrote for Montessorium’s Guidepost Parent on this topic, “Who’s counting: We don’t teach time, we live it.”