Friday, December 11, 2015

Washing the Gate: A Practical Life Activity


Just the other night, our now 16-month-old, without explicit prompt or previous presentation from us, just stood on her chair and wiped the walls. I could imagine three things--1) Her inner drive, that intrinsic urge to self-construct, "horme" according to Maria Montessori, propelling her into action; 2) Karate Kid's/Mr. Miyagi's wax-on-wax-off--seemingly doing something simple and mundane and yet becoming something else, someone more; and 3) Our girl taking part/taking on more chores and work with us (hooray, hooray). So in order to follow her lead and fulfill her sensitivity to such work and movements, we did a simple, fun (plus it ticked off an overdue item on my household maintenance to-do list) washing activity.

Materials: 
Basin
Our Nature to Nurture wash (we'll use the Multi-purpose Cleaner next time)
Small bucket
Large pail
Rags
Whisk, because...

... Because we had a little side work where she used the whisk to mix the wash into the water and make bubbles. This was so much fun I wanted to do it myself!

Then we just washed the gate.

She was purposefully reaching for the higher rails.

I hope our activity this morning will always remind me of what Montessori said about our role as the child's assistant/guide and "dynamic link" to the prepared environment--
"We can no longer remain blind to the psychic development of the child. We must assist him from his earliest moments. Such assistance will not consist in forming the child since this task belongs to nature herself, but in a delicate respect for the outward manifestations of this development and in providing those means necessary for his formation which he cannot obtain by his own efforts alone." - Maria Montessori, The Secret of Childhood


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