Saturday, July 11, 2009

Practical Life: Montessori Snack Time!

I've been eying these cooking cards by Kinderlings sold at Montessori Services for a long time now. I debated spending the money on them, but I'm glad I finally did. My kids love, love, love to help cook and they were so excited to get these in the mail.

To be honest, I don't think the description on the website does them justice. These cards are actually a Practical Life Montessori cooking curriculum!

They talk the "teacher" through the process of setting up the snack area and the activities are arranged in sequential order from simplest to more difficult in true Montessori fashion.

For example:
First it has you setting out a simple already cut/made snack. The child serves themselves snack on a napkin or in a cup. They then carry it to the table and when done they throw away the napkin or paper cup.
Next you would pre-cut an apple, and the child would take one slice and chop it up into pieces, put it on a napkin and carry it to the table, etc.

Once the kids have had a lesson on dish washing, you would introduce a dish washing station for them to use dishes and then wash them instead of using napkins or paper cups.

The recipes become more complicated, like cutting one apple slice, one orange slice and adding yogurt to make a fruit salad. They also have more complex salads and snacks later on and even have some ethnic recipes that can tie in to cultural studies.

I love that each step is on one card for the children to see easily. The teachers cards advise to set up the snack making area like an assembly line from left to right, with trays containing necessary ingredients with the corresponding card.

The teachers cards are awesome in that they tell you how to prepare ahead of time for each recipe, very "a la" Montessori. These cards make it so easy to implement an excellent Practical Life snack station for the kids. I had been trying to create a snack program on my own, but luckily now I don't have to!

I can easily see my kids 7, 6, 4, and 3 using these at different levels because the recipes and steps are very adaptable. I love that they will learn to follow directions, while understanding that each step is important.

Let me know what you think! I'd especially love to hear about how you do snack in your Montessori home school or program.

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