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Before & After: Montessori meets Oakland (REDesigning the Classroom of Mrs. Guerrero)

After many hours of blood, sweat, and tears the classroom is finally finished!!!! I am overjoyed with the final results and I can't believe that I did most of it by myself. I need to give a shout out to the support of Vanessa, Mariah, the principal of Oakland High School Mr. Abdel, and Ashby Lumber for making this possible!

Donations: paint, masonite boards, brushes, rollers, and screws

Dream Classroom: Montessori meets Oakland



* paint walls (to get rid of unwanted marks and energize the room)

* add storage (store more student artwork, art supplies, wellness station)

* chalkboard wall (turn front entryway into an interactive community wall)

* resurface tables (refinish old and uneven tables for a proper working space for students)

* install a large white board (need a larger board to write due dates, project requirements, agenda, date, announcements for multiple class subjects)

* buy new office chair (replace old, ripped, and dirty office chair)

* buy kitchenette counter (to store teachers kitchen ware - no teachers lounge at the school)

* buy plants (for garden corners that will be placed in pockets of the classroom to add a natural element of tranquility)

* essential oil diffuser (freshen the air of a classroom from the art material fumes & body odor)

* classroom wellness station goodies (snacks for students, band-aids, hand sanitizer, tissue box, cough drops, female products, hand soap, lotion)

* eco-friendly cleaning supplies (student, teacher health, and keeping the classroom clean that's good for the environment)


The most challenging part of this project was painting ALL the walls. This was my first experience painting a room and I didn't realize how much time it takes to paint. There's prepping the wall, which is a whole set of other tedious tasks, wiping the wall, then finally painting. And sometimes double coats is needed. Plus the clean-up of brushes!

Fun Times:

The funnest part of this project was making the mood boards, organizing, and doing a little decorating! It's always fun to dream big and make it work with the resources you have. We weren't able to accomplish a full Montessori look, but we got pretty close considering this project was completed by one person with limited resources and a very small budget.


- golden bookshelf (lightens up the dark corner of the teacher nook)

- bright wall colors

- large board installed

- chalkboard entry way

- organized shelves

- resurfaced tables

- de-cluttered space

- nature's touch


Teacher #1: Mrs. Guerrero

"I had a wonderful experience working with Karen from Reggio Emilia Design. She brings a wide range of classroom experience, which was incredibly helpful when thinking of desk placement, circulation needs and solutions around classroom organization. She always kept the students' daily needs in mind and suggested thoughtful solutions like incorporating a phone charging station, which the students have come to appreciate. My classroom provides a unique welcoming space for my students which makes me happy to teach in it. I couldn't be more happy with the outcome of our collaboration and am confident she will continue to create amazing spaces!"

Teacher #2: Students

"I like that the tables are better, before I used to have to grab a board everyday to not mess up my drawings on the uneven table. I like the color of the walls, it looks more like an art classroom. What this classroom offers that others don't is inspiration on the walls, motivation from the cranes installation (good having art up). Once we start to see others art up on the walls it'll feel more inspiring. The bright yellow wall helps bring your attention forward for lectures."

- Anthony

"I like the vibrant colors on the walls, the pink is calming. The crane installation is nice for day dreaming and to help keep focus. What this classroom offers that others don't is a wellness station and snack station for sugar intake, which also saves the trip of having to leave class to go to the Wellness Center across campus. We feel engaged by the nice classroom environment. The plants and the music that plays during class makes the room feel homey and comfortable."

- Derrex & Zhane

Teacher #3: Classroom

(After) Front of Classroom

(After) Left of Classroom

(After) Right of Classroom

(After) Mrs. Guerrero's Desk

(After) Back of Classroom

Thanks for reading!

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