Montessori Alliance

Washing up

Posted by Administrator on August 24, 2011

Home corner can include an ironing board & travel iron; cupboards; bookcase; small table & chairs; cooking area; preparation area; dustpan & brush; washing line & pegs; the list of items you can include is endless. Avoid cluttering the space with too many items. Sticking to the bare minimum of crockery, utensils, pots & pans will more honestly reflect a child’s home life. At home we tend to stick to the same plates, mugs, bowls etc., we do have extras but these always stay in the bottom of the press gathering dust & are taken out at large family gatherings.  Too many items just make it harder for the child to find his/her favourite pieces.

One of the things you’re going to need to prepare a space for is a washing area complete with draining board. A low sink is handy but often these sinks aren’t large enough or deep enough & have taps encroaching on the bowl. If you’re not lucky enough to have a ‘fit for purpose’ sink you’ll need to gather your materials & set up the area.  For the sink you could use a bowl, plastic is best because it’s light and easy to carry especially if it contains water. A child sized light jug, that’s big enough to hold enough water but not so large that it becomes too heavy for the child to control. Pre-fill the jug with tepid water. Wash cloth & a squeeze washing up liquid bottle containing a small amount of washing up liquid. Tea towel, hand towel, draining board, a bucket to put waste water into, a table to put all the equipment on & a non slip mat to put the table on. You could also add a mop & bucket just in case of any spills.

A note of caution; do not make tidying up or washing up after lunch impact on a child’s outdoor time.  By all means ask children to clean up their area, and stack their dishes by the sink & put rubbish into the bin. But it would be preferable to leave washing dishes until after children have come in from the garden if lunch is just before outdoor time.  Most children love their outdoor time so if you make tidying up before they go out a rule, the outcomes you hope these practical life exercises will achieve will be lost. Exercises will be completed haphazardly, rushed & eventually resented. Treat each practical life exercise, even the ones that transfer easily into the day to day running of your classroom such as washing dishes, as an exercise not as a chore.

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