Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Window washing, Montessori-style


As Elijah continues to grow out of babyhood and into preschooler land, I have found myself reflecting more on the best way to for us to spend our days.  As I have looked into different philosophies of education, one that seems to fit with my own ideas is the Montessori Method.

(A disclaimer: my own experience with Montessori education has thus far been purely second-hand, through reading and talking with others.  I am not a Montessori teacher, and make no guarantees that I am doing things the "right" way.  For that matter, I make no such guarantees about my parenting.  Moving on...)

Since I don't have a lot personal experience with Montessori education, but I find it intriguing, I started by reading Moneessori at Home!, recommended on this blog. I found this book to be full of great information...so much, in fact, that I had to keep myself from becoming overwhelmed.  I decided to focus on Practical Life activities as a start.  Elijah loves helping me around the house, from "washing" the dishes to putting the laundry in the dryer to sweeping, so it seemed like the right place to start. 


One important point in Montessori seems to be that children need to be given real tools to work with, whether they are cooking, writing or cleaning.  With this in mind, I found a small spray bottle and some rags, filled the bottle with a vinegar and water solution, and showed Elijah how to spray the bottle once or twice on a surface you want to clean, then wipe the water away with the rag.  The front storm door seemed like a good place to start, as it is always kind of smudgy, plus he can watch cars go by as he cleans.

Perhaps it is just my inexperience with Montessori, but there were a few things about this whole experience that really impressed me.  First, I was surprised at Elijah's ingenuity.  When he first tried to the activity, he couldn't use the spray bottle himself because he was trying to operate it with one hand, as I had showed him.  For the first few times that we did the activity, I sprayed the water and he wiped it off.  Yesterday, though, he tried the activity again, and, using two hands, he was able to work the spray bottle himself.  (This caused much delight on both our parts.)

Secondly, I have been struck by how much Elijah loves doing this.  Now that he has gotten the hang of the spray bottle, he will spray and wipe, spray and wipe, for 20 minutes at a time.  He moved from the storm door to the regular door, and then wanted to clean the wall.  He even recruited his stuffed puppy as an assistant. 
Because this first practical life activity has gone so well, I am tempted to jump in an add a few more, but I think I will wait for now.  As far as I can tell, repetition is an essential component to Montessori education as well.  So, for the the moment, I will sit back, keep refilling the spray bottle, and hang out with this girl:


What can I say?  My life is full of goodness.

17 comments:

  1. Hi there, I am a parent of a student at a montessori preschool and I am making a little video to share with other parents about how to bring the montessori methods into the home. I was wondering if I could use the photograph of your son washing windows? I can give you more information? Do you have an email address I could contact you at? thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amanda,

      Sorry, I just saw your comment. For some reason, this post in particular attracts a lot of spam, so I overlooked your legit response. Feel free to email me at diaryofanearlynewmom@gmail.com. I can send you the original photograph if that would be helpful. Thanks.

      Lisa

      Delete
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  4. You're being a great mother. Kudos! Your child will be responsible and will have great manners, judging by your article. Thanks for sharing this post. You reminded me I should clean my windows as well :)

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  6. Wow thanks for the info. I'll probably start reading it too it sounds so intriguing. You're an amazing mom btw :)

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  7. Moneessori book is one of the great books. This book is full of information. I have also got many idea from this book. If we have to expert then we need to use practical life. Otherwise it will not work for you. Thanks for sharing your info.

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