Sunday, October 12, 2008

Montessori the Grate

I'm not sure if grating lessons are typically part of the Montessori curriculum, but they are a HIT at my school. The children literally beg us teachers to present these lessons, and they get lots of use during every work period. I love grating lessons because they require organization and problem solving, and they combine many of the skills acquired from the beginning practical life lessons. The children love them because they are exciting, and they provide a tangible product. :)

Bread Grating
Materials:
  • stale bread (place slices of bread on a cookie pan in a warm oven for a couple hours)
  • grater with a bottom for catching crumbs
  • spoon
  • bag for crumbs
  • brush and pan for "crumbing" table and chair
The child grates bread across the grater, and when he's satisfied with the amount of crumbs in the container, he spoons them into a bag. The stale bread makes a really great sound against the grater, and crumbs fly EVERYWHERE! But, stay calm... the second part of this lesson involves lots of thorough sweeping. I mean, we get down on our hands and knees and peer around for stray crumbs. :) Before, we go on a sweep-a-thon, it's really important to decide what the child is going to use the crumbs for - that way, he'll have something to look forward to after all the hard work. Feeding them to the birds and saving them to put on a salad (or mom's salad) are favorite choices in our classroom.

Soap Grating
Materials:
  • large bowl
  • large pitcher
  • upright grater
  • soap on dish (plain Ivory works well, but it has to be dried out)
  • eggbeater
  • scrub brush
  • drying cloth
The child first grates soap into the bottom of the bowl. Then, she fills the pitcher with warm water. Half the warm water will be used for making soap suds, the other half will be saved for the clean-up. The child then uses the eggbeater to whip the soap into suds. With the right amount of soap, warm water, and determination, a child can make an astounding amount of bubbles. When the child is satisfied that her water is sudsy enough, she pours it into the tub we use to wash our snack dishes. The rest of the lesson involves cleaning up. The child pours fresh water into the bowl and uses the scrub brush to wash the grater, the eggbeater, the soap dish, and the ring around the bowl.

Bread grating and soap grating are always out on the practical life shelves, but, seasonally, we also grate crayons, cinnamon, carrots, etc. Actually, a lemon or lime zesting lesson sounds fun, doesn't it? Happy grating!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the grate ideas! I work in a non- montessori setting but feel really inspired to try these activities with the 3-5 year olds in our early year's unit in UK.

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