I was reading an article about a school somewhere recently that described their classroom as an environment for ACTUAL children. The phrase stuck with me as I was preparing our own environment for the start of this school year.
I really love setting up the classroom, but do recognize that I get caught up in a kind of Montessori interior decorating frenzy sometimes where I set things up to look beautiful and complete, sure, but perhaps not quite keeping in mind the actual children that will be coming to use those things. I am guilty of adding the too precious objects that will really hurt me when they get dropped by accident, a material that is perhaps beautiful but not quite sturdy enough to handle real use, or an area that will invite a certain kind of use or number of children that no amount of grace and courtesy will be able to counter. I kept those words in my mind as I set up our room this year and did some things differently. Needless to say, the ostrich egg did not make it onto the shelf.
This is not to say that we cannot trust the children with precious and semi-sturdy things, but that in setting up and environment for independence (and personal sanity) considering what the first call of a material or area will be (especially during the first days with 9 new friends joining us), it's perhaps smarter to err on the side of reality, since it is 'actual children' that will be joining us.