The Power of Child-Sized Aprons and Sponges
Maria Montessori is famous for having said, “To assist a child we must provide him with an environment which will enable him to develop freely.” Having child-size materials available in the kitchen will allow your child to avoid unnecessary struggling and will enable their concentration to fully flourish.
When a child first learns to wash the dishes or clean the kitchen surfaces, there is much for their senses to discover – the wetness of the sponge, its soapy residue, and the miracle of making the messes disappear. As parents, we can facilitate this exploration by making the logistics of the activity as simple as possible for them.
A simple place to begin your preparation is with sponges, which can be cut to the size of your child’s hand. Take it a step further and use a color-coordinated drying cloth and tray to frame the activity and provide a sense of order. Start your cleaning session with a blue sponge and a blue cloth on a blue tray, for instance. (All items should be child-sized). When the work environment becomes messy, the color scheme offers a mental cue to your child which ties everything back together; they’ll know to look for that blue sponge or towel among the clutter and can reach for them more easily. When the activity is complete, they can finish their work with satisfaction, grouping their color-coordinated tools back to the rightful storage place.
Starting a kitchen activity with a sense of order can be further enhanced with the “magical power” of a child-sized apron. Each day as you take your child into the world there may be multiple encounters with people in uniform; be it a police officer, a postal worker, or a favorite pro-athlete. When a child finds their very own child-sized apron to put on before getting to work in the kitchen, they can feel the same sense of responsibility and pride in the task at hand. Most of all, it excites them.
An apron not only sets the tone for the activity but also gives the child ownership over the job they are about to begin. Soon you may be able to step back and watch your maestro go to work, enjoying the challenges and feeling the thrills of their own accomplishment!
Encouraging your child to participate in the kitchen is easy and fun when they have the right-sized tools to work with … Their small hands and fingers can find success more easily and they’ll feel more excited as mommy or daddy’s little helper. There are many ways you can prepare the environment to meet their needs. Find out how why starting with an apron is perhaps the most valuable first step.
For more tips on how to introduce Montessori activities, read The Nine Key Points to Sharing a New Activity with Your Child.
P.S. Would you like my support and guidance setting-up your Montessori home? If, yes then go ahead and schedule a ‘Discovery Session’ with me. It’s free and you’ll know if we are a good fit. 😉