Ok, I know, it's not ground breaking. But it's fun for them when they can eventually do it themselves! Opening the letterbox.
It took me a long time to grasp the concept of observation. Now it comes naturally. As you will read I've found observation key in providing for and meeting Otis's needs. For many parents this may be instinctual, but if like me you need some help or ideas please read along. .
Most of all, spending time with your child should be enjoyable. If observation as I've mentioned it doesn't connect with you, perhaps keep it in mind. There may be a time when you are observing and you don't even know it.
I don't want to hear that toddlers cannot be trusted. That they might break something. Hell no, don't give them a glass! I agree that some homes aren't set up to provide children with a real glass, that some parents aren't ready (and that's completely ok), but please don't say that a two year old cannot be trusted. If you believe (in general) that two year olds cannot be trusted with real crockery please visit a Montessori community, please book in to visit your closest Montessori school and see it for yourself. They can be trusted, they can be gentle and careful if given the right opportunity.
Otis is not unique in his ability. He will (and has) throw toys but never a glass. Why is that do you think? He will (and has) pulled leaves off a plant. But he can also do this...
Montessori provides children with the opportunity to be gentle. Allowing a child to demonstrate their ability can be such a rewarding experience.
With this Japanese bell the more gentle you ring it the nicer it sounds. Be rough and it sounds blunt.
I was talking to a friend yesterday and she mentioned some of the fun food preparation activities she is planning to do with her Montessori school children. I am totally envious that this is what she gets to do for her work! I know many of these activities are suitable for home but it's much easier to justify a grain mill when it can be enjoyed so many. Here are some fun food finds for your Montessori classroom.
Apple Slicer - We have one of these at home. It is great for building strength and it cuts the apple into equal sized pieces which is fun to share. I need to get it started though, I push it into the apple slightly and the children can do the rest.
Nut Cracker - Nuts are not allowed in most schools so this is best left for homeschools or out of school activities where all allergies are known. I've been coveting this for a while - I love the screw action to crack the nut.
Egg Slicer - Many schools avoid eggs but think outside the box. This would be great for small pieces of cheese, strawberries or mushrooms.
Juicer - Ok, I know most schools have a juicer but I think this antique looking glass juicer is really cute.
Banana Slicer - This would be fun for those little ones who are yet to wield a knife. Otis still makes a mess slicing his banana (mush) so this would be a good way for little ones to cut a banana that makes it appropriate to share the slices.
Melon Ball Scoop - Fun for scooping seasonal melons.
Spice Grinder - The mechanical action of turning the handle to grind the spices makes this enjoyable for children.
Cherry or Olive Pitter - I haven't used this pitter personally but it looks like it would be easy for children to use, one of the most child friendly versions I've seen.
Grater - We have a cheese grater similar to this and Caspar started using it at three. It was a challenge but so much fun. We started using it to grate soap to make soap balls but of course it would be good for grating all types of food.
Nutmeg Mill - If I had a class this would be on my list. Nutmeg smells divine and this mill requires strength and coordination and is the right size for children.
Apple Peeler - I know a lot of classrooms have a peeler like this. Wonderful for apples and potatoes. This type of peeler makes apple slinkys and you can also make slices without removing the peel.
Grain Mill - I'm convinced that every class should have (or borrow) one of these. It's all about learning the process. Plant to food. Since grain is in so many of our foods I think this one is fundamental.
Compost Pail - Such a lovely way to store compost. This pail is so elegant it would be right at home in a Montessori classroom.
Cold Press Juicer. When I saw this juicer I nearly died with envy. This manual juicer would be a hit with children.
Coffee Grinder - I don't drink coffee but I'm sure it has many other uses. Coffee beans are great deodorises. Again I think it's the physicality, the physical toughness of turning the handle to see the results that appeals to children.
I think a small mortar and pestle should be on the list too! What do you think? I'd love to hear what you use in your classroom.
I put some old coats and jackets into a basket and presented it to Otis. There are zips and buttons to explore. It's our home version of the dressing frames - a fun practical life activity.
Over the period of a day Otis made a lot of progress. He loves the zips and snap fasteners. As I walk through the house and put away laundry I'm looking for other types of fasteners, buckles and the like.
After school I found Caspar sitting at Otis's table working with some of the coats. It's really good for him too, especially lining up the two pieces of the jacket and threading the zipper.
Perhaps I should visit the thrift store, they might have some interesting and alternative fasteners?