Sunday, November 27, 2011

Montessori-Style Practical Life

I don't really understand Montessori, but I've decided that on the face of it there's a lot of (a) saying yes to your child's natural instincts and/or (b) putting them to work doing mild menial tasks in hopes of building hand strength (or something?). I'm using that template for the time being, in hopes of deciphering it as I go along.

As such, here are some sensory projects and/or practical life exercises I've done with the kiddo lately, not including his obsession with the brooms in the broom closet. He loves dragging them around and pretending he's "sweeping sweeping!"

J loves to try to take these nested mixing bowls out of the cabinet, so I finally decided to just let him play with them. We'll probably have a breakage incident at some point, but in the meantime, he has a field day arranging these bowls. He only uses the smallest four or five so far. Disregard the giant smear of drool on his shirt--his canines (incisors?) are coming in so he's a drool machine lately.
Juicing citrus fruits is a classic Montessori practical-life thing, but this was just an ill-considered exercise on my part. This grapefruit was way too meaty and heavy for him to really work on. We have some lemons coming in on our tree soon so we'll try again with those.
Drinking drinking! After giving the kiddo a fair shot with both halves of the grapefruit, I did the juicing myself and Jackson loved drinking the fruit (juices) of our labors.
I need to chit some potatoes anyway, because I'd like to try to grow potatoes in buckets in the spring, so I put Jackson to work placing grocery store potatoes in an apple box divider. If these don't sprout soon (they haven't so far), I'll go to the farmer's market and get some organic ones. (Many grocery store potatoes are sprayed to prevent the eyes from sprouting in the produce drawer.)
Scooping! Jackson found the measuring cup in the dishwasher (he loves "helping" with the dishwasher) and wanted to do "scooping scooping!" so I dug some coarse salt out of the high cupboard and let him do scooping from one dish to the other. He had fun pushing the salt around and scooping it to many far reaches of the house, hee. (The proper Montessorians don't allow such chaos, but he's still so little, who cares?) I think I've got it all cleaned up now (we'll see) and I used the excess as an ad hoc Bermuda-grass-killer for some cracks in the driveway. Next time it rains it should soak into the soil around the weed roots and hopefully both kill the roots and prevent further growth.

 Not pictured: I've also been getting out the mortar and pestle and trying to get him to grind egg shells for me. So far that seems beyond both his strength and his attention span, but he does help take the shells out of the carton and break them down a bit with his hands, which seems like a great first step!

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