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Montessori for Moms: A Tea Party
The first thing I noticed when I walked into the Montessori classroom was a child-size, wooden table with 2 chairs set in the corner of the room.
A vase of flowers was set on a square of brightly printed cloth that lay on the table. Next to the table and chairs was a hutch painted French blue that housed ceramic teacups, saucers, and a teapot.
Against the other wall, a low, long table was set up as a dishwashing station. On it was a plastic dishpan filled with sudsy water for washing, another with clear water for rinsing, and a small bamboo rack at the end to hold the drying.
I was told a table for two is part of the curriculum in a Montessori environment.
The children have tea parties! I was sold. Montessori was for me.
Even 27 years ago, I knew I had found a curriculum that would be perfect for me to learn and teach.
My son was just one year old when I did my year-long training. I wanted more than anything to be a stay-at-home mom with my children.
After I was trained and certified as a Montessori preschool teacher, I transformed our basement into a Montessori preschool.
I was open for two hours a day in the morning, five days a week, with 5-7 kids. I earned extra money and kept my own children close.
I loved creating materials, preparing art projects, and facilitating the learning environment for kids.
Maria Montessori had an incredible heart for children and used her skills as a doctor and scientist to develop a method for learning that taught the whole child: body, mind, and soul.
She took poor Italian children out of their impoverished homes for the day while their mother worked and provided them with an enriching and stimulating home environment.
If you’d like to learn more about teaching Montessori in the home, click on the link for a wonderful resource.
The children were treated with dignity and cared for in a way that valued their unique learning styles. They were instilled with a love for learning and self-care, even at a young age.
Six areas of focus in a Montessori Learning Environment
- Practical Life
The tea party falls into the Practical Life category. All Montessori lessons are presented slowly, with deliberate modeling by the teacher and specific steps to follow. Repetition is key in the Montessori Method.
How to Have a Montessori-Style Tea Party
- First, they are taught to invite a friend.
- The teacher (or mom) models for the two friends how to set the table with a cup and saucer and how to place the flowers from the hutch on the table. The children carry one piece at a time from the hutch to the table.
- The teacher (or mom) fills the teapot with warm herbal tea. One child carries the pot to the table. A cookie or cracker may be an added treat for the other child to carry to round out the party.
- When the children are finished at the table, they push in their chairs and carry their cups and saucers, one at a time, to the sudsy water. The same goes for the other dishes on the table. One child washes, the other rinses.
- After being washed and rinsed, tea cups, saucers, plates for cookies, and teapots are set into the drying rack. At that time, they may either be dried with a towel or left to air dry.
The children take pride in their independence. The tea party promotes social exchange, exposure to the esthetically pleasing and practical task of setting the table, and finally the sensorial splendor of washing dishes in warm, bubbly water.
Wouldn’t this be a fun thing to add to your child’s day?
Opportunities abound for moms to be creative in the Montessori learning environment.
There are endless possibilities to create matching games, books, counting and science projects, and many more practical life experiences, such as cutting flowers and folding napkins.
Stay tuned for more Montessori activity ideas!
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