Sunday, July 11, 2010

Montessori at the dinnertable

In this video, our 13 month old baby is finishing dinner. I am using some Montessori techniques to help her learn to eat using a spoon and to drink out of a cup. This is a very slow process that requires a great deal of patience and clean up. When you watch the video observe how I respect the baby and am patient with her as she makes a mess. In doing so, I allow her to explore, experience and learn. She is never told to stop, physically corrected by me or told that she is doing something the "wrong" way, although i do try to help along the way with the pouring work. This method takes time, but this toddler was drinking from a glass at 9 months of age. I recommended using metal tableware as giving this much freedom to a baby yields many broken dishes. Pouring work as you can see is very messy, but the sense of independence is instilled in this child through methods such as this, and creates a driving motivation to learn that carries them through their formative years. Putting milk in a sippy cup on the other hand does not. That's not to say that sippy cups are bad and should not ever be used, It's just to say that sippy cups are for parents, and not for kids.

When she drops the cup, I don't freak out and pick it up for her. I let her do that for herself. she drinks out of the empty cup and realizes that there is no milk left and that it's spilled on her chair. then she motions for the pouring pitcher. again, i let her do that on her own. She spends a long time with the pitcher and eventually drops it and becomes startled with the sound or frustrated that she dropped it. This is her basically communicating frustration, she is simply talking really. I don't tell her "its ok" or anything like that. I let her work through that on her own.

She enjoys cleaning up the table. It's purposeful work. Meaning that she is learning a skill that she can use in real life. a skill that lets her clean up after herself and be responsible for herself. kids love purposeful work. after dinner she always cleans up her space.

normally im not filming, im modeling how to use the spoon for her and how to drink. i eat very slowly so that she can see how i use the spoon. i hold my glass with two hands and pick it up very slowly as well, taking a drink and then putting the glass back down to the table very slowly. I give her a spoon and I have a spoon. I feed her and then let her feed herself. back and forth.