Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Montessori Flower Arranging

I was always excited when 'Flowers' was the scheduled theme for my classes. I loved it when the children would bring different kinds to school, when we would each dissect a hibiscus (gumamela) to see the parts, when we would do flower arranging which is a lovely practical life work and is a wonderful way to let the children be more mindful and caring of their environment as they add to its beauty.

Flower arranging basically involves cutting stems of flowers (older children can do the cutting), pouring water through a funnel into a vase (or just simple pouring if your container's rim is wide enough), putting the flowers in, carrying the vase (can be with a doily), and setting it down to where you want to decorate.



One of my dreams for my home is for it to have fresh flowers everyday so never mind that I can't keep even marigolds alive for very long, we got a couple of I-don't-remember-the-names-of-these-flowers and my 18-month-old and I had fun transplanting them into clay pots.

When I got these potted flowers, I knew that I was going to use them for flower arranging activities. But before we went into that, we practiced the sub-skills required for the work first.

Our 18-month-old has been handling glass since she was 6 months and has been pouring since 12 so this time, we practiced pouring through a funnel. No trays yet, no pouring back and forth--I just let her explore using the funnel. 

She has also been doing work like this since 10 months so I knew that putting a thin flower stem into the small hole of a glass bottle is something she can do. 

 Last February 14, we were able to get, from an aunt's bouquet; a couple of stargazers which I put in bottles and placed around the house.

This lone stem in a small bottle I placed on top of one of our 18-month-old's shelves.
She happily explored the flower for some minutes.
And then...

She rearranged the materials on the shelves... 

To redecorate it!

 I knew then that we were ready for a simple flower arranging work--she has been practicing all the sub-skills for quite some time already (pouring water with a funnel, putting something into small holes, holding the flowers gently, carrying glass with care) and she has seen that a flower in a bottle can be used to make a space more beautiful. I just combined all these elements and sub-skills and did a simple presentation.

Watch a video of our 18-month-old do her flower arranging work!

Maria Montessori said,"The child should live in an environment of beauty." What's more is that children are capable and happy to contribute to that beauty and order! We only have to let them.

This was another one of our 18-month-old's idea.
We saw a butterfly and I mentioned that butterflies like flowers, too, so we left these flowers in a bottle out here for the butterfly. 
Or for the cat.




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