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Posts Tagged ‘cleaning’

VIDEO: What to do when your toddler doesn’t do what you ask

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012 11:16 am | By Stephanie Woo

Daisy, with B and M, at the Denver Zoo

If you’re wondering what a good Montessori teacher looks like, here is a glimpse of my cousin, Daisy. She is AMI-trained, has 10 years of experience, but her most admirable quality is her constant search to becoming a better Montessori teacher. She came to stay with us for 8 days while we were in Denver and in that short time, she transformed my girls. Before she came, putting things away and cleaning were a hit-and-miss in our house, but while she was with us, it was a constant.

I think this video is remarkable. In 16 short minutes, you will see B and M (19 months here) cleaning crumbs off the floor, clearing the plates and utensils, wiping their table mats, wiping the table, putting things away and washing their hands. But what you will experience is how Daisy asks them to do these things with patience and gentleness. Her language and tone are masterful – never a hint of impatience, aggression or threat no matter what the children do. She is engaged, matter-of-fact and completely present with the child’s process. If you’ve ever encountered a toddler who doesn’t do what you ask him to and you don’t know what to do about it, watch this video and learn!

This video was shot in July 2012. It is 16 minutes and 8 seconds. Here are some video highlights:

00:00 M cleaning up crumbs with a carpet sweeper

00:39 M puts carpet sweeper and chair away

1:47 Daisy asks M to put her dishes away. M walks away. Watch how Daisy handles this.

3:45 B says she’s done eating, then says she wants more. What would you say to her?

5:31 Daisy gives M the space she needs to take care of herself

5:55 B starts putting dishes in the dirty dish basket. Watch how Daisy directs her.

7:06 Toddler needs a lot of collaboration from the adult. This is how it’s done.

7:18 M starts to take cereal out of the box. Ever encounter a toddler doing something totally different than what you asked?

8:21 B drops things in the basket loudly. Watch how Daisy models putting things away quietly and how B imitates her

9:01: Daisy asks B if she would be willing to help put M’s stuff away.

10:20 All plates and bowls are now in the basket

10:44 M wipes the placemats

12:15 Puts wiping sponge away

12:20 Puts placemat away

12:51 Daisy asks M to wipe the table

13:21 B starts to play music in the background and distracts M. What to do?

13:43 Daisy asks M to put the cleaning basket away

13:55 Time to wash hands!

16:08 The end

To learn more about Daisy’s Montessori school in San Francisco, click here.

I would love to hear your comments about this video. Please send me an email at stephanie@montessorionthedouble.com or post it in the comments section below.

Window Cleaning

Monday, April 30th, 2012 12:32 pm | By Stephanie Woo

Window cleaning is a great Montessori Practical Life activity perfect for the home. Here’s how we do it–

Here is Mackenzie with her spray bottle – just water inside.  What I like about this bottle is, though the part you squeeze is wide for little hands, it is quite loose, so they were able to get water out of the bottle early on by using both hands. We have another spray bottle that is smaller and tighter and took much longer for them to master.

She can finally ‘one-hand’ it!

She uses a squeegee to wipe the water off the window

She finishes by wiping it with a small soft cloth.

Window cleaning is very attractive to young children because they love anything that involves water. Add the cool tools (spray bottle, squeegee) that go with it, and it’s a true winner that they are happy to do over and over again!

I can’t say our windows are any cleaner since they’ve started doing this activity, but my favorite part is leaving the house and then looking in to find their little silhouettes busy wiping down the window. It’s amazing to watch them work with such intensity!

The right material is key for your toddler, make sure you consider the size, weight and feel of each item before purchasing it. Here’s where I bought mine:

Squeegee: This one from Montessori Services is narrow enough for small hands to hold and maneuver

Spray bottle: Make sure you test it out before buying it. I bought mine at a local bath and beauty store, but this one seems to have gotten good reviews

Cloth: I used these as burp cloths when they were babies. Now they are the perfect length, width and thickness for window wiping!

Tray: This tray is light to carry and sized perfectly to hold everything together.

The Hands are the Instrument of Man’s Intelligence

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012 3:54 pm | By Stephanie Woo

Montessori believed the hands were the instrument of man’s intelligence.

I’ve been looking for the best way for my kids to use their hands in different ways. In our house, we never sit to learn ABCs or 123s, instead, we clean! If you have children, you know what it’s like to clean up after them. It’s a constant affair.  Since Montessori believed that our job as parents is to be their educators, not their slaves, rather than cleaning up after them all the time, I’ve been teaching them to clean up after themselves.  How on earth am I making this work, you ask? Well, the only reason is because children love to clean when given the chance!

Brooke loves to wipe so much that she will spill her milk on the couch deliberately so she can get a tissue, wipe up the spill, then throw away the tissue. She does this every morning.

Here she is wiping up the spill on the floor.

And again wiping the table with a rag after she eats.

Here is a video of Mackenzie when she just turned 14 months –

Children at this age can also help put toys away, set the table, clean up the table, throw things away in the garbage. I just introduced them to window-cleaning with a squirt bottle and squeegee. Get them involved and show them how it’s done. It still amazes me what they can do.