I received a pm from another mama who requested my file from the Montessori at Home Consultation that I offer, and I decided to post it here as well. Keep in mind, the more independent the child can be, the better because he is using his own muscle coordination and building muscle strength and that is, in turn, creating and building synapses in his brain!! In addition to this list, there are many practical life exercises that would be great to do at home as well. While it certainly is not an exhaustive list, it is alot to think about so try one or two ideas, then add a few more as you get going.
Child sized dishware is accessible (a low, open shelf) as well as all other necessary items: towels and sponges, colander, measuring spoons/cups, etc.
Children are encouraged to help with setting the table, cooking and clean up
While eating children enjoy practicing manners such as “please pass the butter” or “may I be excused”
Supply breakable dishware and cups without lids, this creates more careful movement
Encourage pouring drinks by supplying child-sized pitcher (pouring exercises coordination and concentration)
Glasses and pitchers of clear glass are recommended so the child can see the liquid
Set a dish bin under the sink (somewhere accessible) for dirty dishes
Large containers for cereals/snacks that the children could then scoop out an individual portion into a bowl are available (at the child's reach).
Also, the older chdn can help the younger chdn.
Assemble items needed for cooking activity. All items should be maintained. These recipes are for all ages. Of course, for the younger child there is more adult participation. For older children, after the introduction, they can be quite independent with this work.
Involve the children in menu planning as well as grocery shopping
Packing and unpacking lunches – materials accessible, washed, organized.
Step for sink/toilet
Towels and washcloths are accessible
Time allowed for care-of-self routines
Bedtime routine is established but slight changes occur over time as the children grow in independence
Low clothes rack and hooks
A bed that a child can enter and exit
Attention given to beauty and order
Decorating motifs reflect the individual interests of the child
The child has a small selection of books, puzzle or games. This is rotated every few weeks to help stimulate interest and facilitate clean up.
As child begins to read, parent reads one chapter or book each night and child reads one.
In the beginning, choose books with simple, phonetic text (2 or 3 words per page) and interesting illustrations. There is a great selection of beginning reader books at the library. The youngest child will enjoy listening.
Hang a calendar on the wall and check the day off the calendar each night during the bedtime routine. Discuss events occurring in the child’s life and special celebrations. Encourage the child to write events and times on the calendar.
Family Room (and the rest of the house – including outdoors and into the community)
What does the family like to do together?
Ideas: reading, stretching, yoga, music (listening/playing), dancing, storytelling, board games, card games, puzzles, weaving, knitting, woodworking, watering plants, gardening, drawing. Share your interests with your children.
Develop your child’s interests by visiting art galleries, museums, performances and sports events.
Parents demonstrate cursive writing (cursive writing is taught in Montessori); provide opportunities for child to observe you writing grocery lists, cards and letters, writing on the calendar, banking etc.
Good map of Your Area, pinpoint own house and points of reference
Child’s desk including materials: ruler, pencils, erasers, scissors and varieties of paper
Other writing practice:
Phone book – child writes names and phone numbers of family members, friends.
Making and writing greeting cards
Limit computer and TV time – every activity that involves manipulating physical objects creates stronger and more neurological connections than screen time.
Thanks sooooo much for that list! There's a lot of wonderful ideas on there!! You actually put this up at a perfect time for me because we'll be moving soon and will have to furnish our apartment from scratch so we have a unique opportunity to set all the rooms up to be very kid friendly and useable. One thing I always wonder about snack preparation is at what age do you start doing what? DD is two and is VERY intereted in knifes and cutting (she has some cutting toys and cuts playdough etc with dull plastic knives) but I'm scared to let her do more than that even though I know she really wants to. Thoughts? I also am excited about trying out the pitchers for DD, we're definitely going to have a lot of spills at first but I know that'll be something she loves. Oh, and the calender idea is great, she's already obsessed with them even if she doesn't get them yet. :D
For cutting, start with something rather soft - bananas, cheese, tofu.
You can use a regular table knife, my dd had a set of child-sized tableward, so we just used that little knife when she was very young.
You can also use a plastic knife or there are a variety of cutters (wooden handle and squared knife) available (m. olaf, m. services)
When my dd was around 3 and 4, she loved to cut potatoes, pour oil and spices on them and bake them for a side dish.
She loved to cut veggies for salad (zucchini, peppers, tomato)
Now, she loves to cook and is started to get quite creative in the kitchen, experimenting with different ingredients.
Great for me since she is a big help and she even loves to wash the dishes.
Also has loved the calendar for long time now and keeps track of days and events better than me sometimes!
p.s. I bought extra cotton washcloths to have on hand (I serged them into 4 pieces each for little hands!) makes cleaning spills a breeze~
Thank you for posting this! I really need to start doing those things. My ds is finishing up his 2nd year and dd is finishing up her 1st and I still haven't done any of that and I am really kicking myself for it. Now that I can actually see it it seems more doable.
Jennifer, SAHM to my little man 5 1/2 and my VBAC sweetie pie girls 4 1/2, 2 1/2 and 6mos.