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Montessori in the Kitchen

Montessori in the Kitchen

How to Involve Children in the Kitchen

No matter the age of your child, you can incorporate them in activities in the kitchen. Young babies will benefit from watching from their sling, or baby seat. As early as when they are physically able, children can become involved in basic level 1 simple activities like stirring, placing vegetables into a pan, dish or tray. As they get older their interest and therefore involvement can develop.

Equipment

I do not believe you need any special equipment to facilitate children's involvement in the kitchen, however, it is practical to offer materials and tools that suits their size and ability. For example, kitchen knives that are especially designed for children in size and style will help your child learn to control their movements while cutting. This is because the knives are smaller and designed ergonomically to fit well into small hands. Some knives available also offer less sharp blades, or the one we use, Kinderkitchen Dog Knife from Kuhn Rikon, has teeth (a little bit like a bread knife), so this means it has the ability to cut through hard vegetables like potatoes and carrots, but will not slice open a finger.

Our personalised baking sets bring together this access for children with the use of smaller, more child-friendly equipment, with the novelty of professionally laser engraving the child's name on the tools. The baking set is also available with our personalised Montessori Placemats, as a Gift Set.

Developing Abilities

In our kitchen, I don't hold back when the boys express an interest in wanting to help with any particular kitchen activity. Even close to the stove, I simply remind the boys that the area is hot, and let them manage and control their own body near the heat. I do not fear minor accidents, like touching something hot for a few seconds. Accidents like this are an essential part of learning as they allow the brain to reassess and reconfigure for next time - i.e. they learn much faster. This is not to say I recommend carelessness! I always take great precautions - by being prepared in advance, making sure I have all the equipment out in front of us so I don't need to turn my back and leave the children unattended. I watch with great care, and try very hard not to intervene until my help is requested. This requires a great deal of constraint, and it comes with a lot of practise. When you implement a prepared environment you will help your child to learn great lifelong skills - and always remember famous words:

"Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed."

Maria Montessori

Above you will see Sylvester at 22 months making his own scrambled eggs for breakfast. Notice how it is important to stand back, offer assisting hands, but try not to take over. Always remain close, for safety.