Alternatives to conventional schooling like Waldorf and Montessori schools often focus on educating the whole child, allowing the child's innate curiosity to guide their studies, rather than imposing methods of rote memorization and misguided one-size-fits-all ideas behind standardized testing. The concept of a specially "prepared environment" -- an orderly atmosphere complete with child-sized items and furnishings -- is a key component that Italian educator Maria Montessori pioneered back in the turn of the twentieth century, and something that we actually see translated in most modern kindergartens today.
Continuing the task of designing thoughtful pedagogical furniture is Italian company Flowerssori, which takes its inspiration from the Montessori method. Flowerssori's team is led by a designer who was born in Montessori's hometown, and its focus is on creating sustainable, hand-made furniture for children. They say:
Attention to nature and appreciation of the Montessori method are the main themes of a design resulting from long reflection on the quality of children's furniture, conducted by a group of architects. The furniture in the Flowerssori ® collection is not a mere scale reproduction of patterns "for adults" but as objects specifically conceived and designed for children, considering their specific nature in terms of ergonomics and cognitive and sensory sensitivity.
A directed "sensorial" component is one of the key areas of exploration behind the Montessori method; through the senses, a child learns many concepts about his or her world. And it appears that the blooming of the flower is the driving theme behind the soft, ergonomic curves of the collection's bent ash wood (each is made from a single sheet); no sharp corners here, a refreshing departure.
The collection is also made to fit together to stack up easily in a classroom environment, and its lightweight nature allows children to use it without fuss.
The design has been "certified by CATAS (centre for research, development and laboratory test in the wood furniture field) of San Giovanni al Natisone," and was recently featured in the first Flowerssori Public School. Better design that is conscious of nature's primacy will no doubt help boost our children's ecological literacy; check out more over at Flowerssori.