It has been a while since I’ve had a Montessori post, so I wanted to discuss one that comes with a bit of confusion. No sippy cups.
Montessori ideals and philosophy is over 100 years old. It is tried and trued. While technology has advanced, the fact is, a 15 month old today, should be similar to a 15 month old 100 years ago. Instead, we often see 15 month olds who can unlock iphones and find apps to play. While parents post these videos on youtube with excitement over how advanced their child is, we have to wonder… at what cost?
What are children NOT doing today that they were doing 100 years ago because of so much technology? Yes, technology can be useful, but there are a few things that kids are not doing these days… perhaps, we can be honest for a minute and ask our selves, what it is our kids could do more of, if we let them.
Practical Life in Montessori
Montessori focuses on:
- sensorial learning
- practical life
Yes, while there are many schools which focus on reading and writing, often we lose out on the practical skills. My 4 year old boy LOVES peeling carrots and shopping bananas. He and my daughter (age 6) can make chapati dough on their own AND make perfectly small roti! This comes with a lot of practice on fine motor skills before they were given a pencil (or crayon).
The various areas of practical life include:
Using a pincer grasp to pick things up. Being able to pour liquid from a ceramic jug into a real glass. Yes, real glass. Children practice with real items. They will practice cutting, washing, polishing brass, mopping the floor and more. Children love to imitate adults, so instead of having them practice with apps, they imitate adults washing windows.
In Montessori kids do work. Their lessons are practical.
These helps with fine motor and gross motor skills. They learn how to do things in a sequence, so their attention is important. When they learn sequence they are preparing for logical thinking and math. Plus, these fine motor skills are refined and indirectly it helps with writing.
So, for a Montessori child, there’s no reason for a sippy cup.
Kids can use an open cup. Really, they can. From the breast to an open cup, it can happen. Start with a small cup, the size of a shot glass (it doesn’t have to be the one that reminds you of Spring Break or Mardi Gras), and fill it half way with the liquid. The child will learn to drink from it (really!) and if they spill they are learning. Simply, wipe it up and try again. In fact, at 15 months old they can help wipe up. Not because they “have” to, but because kids love to help.
Additional Practical Life Activities for Toddlers
- Have a home “coat” rack that is their size
- Peeling mandarin oranges (or other ‘loose’ skin citrus)
- Filling water from a water dispenser
- Unloading laundry from the dryer
- Sorting laundry (colors/whites)
- Cleaning windows (using a mix of vinegar and water, a squeegie and a cloth wipe)
- Making lemon water using a citrus fruit juicer
- Using tweezers to pick the seeds off of a sunflower
- Grinding spices with mortar and pestle
Now in being practical, most Montessori families will use a covered cup of some sort in the car, but otherwise it is truly possible to not use a sippy cup for a toddler. Really!