When we decided not to move Corinne from her current preschool to a Montessori preschool, it was a tough decision because I like the Montessori approach and have known how positive this style of learning can be for kids. It was really empowering for me to decide to incorporate Montessori into our home life.
I’ll spare you the long-winded explanation, but I will tell you that one important aspect…especially with younger children….is to allow them to practice real life skills. Corinne definitely wants to do things herself and loves doing grown up things around the house. If I’m sweeping, she wants to sweep. If I’m dusting, she wants to dust. When it’s time to get dressed, she wants to do as much of it herself as she possibly can. She’s so proud of herself when she’s able to do things independently or with minimal assistance, and I find she tends to be more accepting of the times when an adult has to do something for her.
Corinne loves being in the kitchen with us, and cooking time is chock full of opportunities for kids. Corinne washes her hands at the sink and is ready to help measure, stir, pour, and taste. She’s even learned how to peel and cut bananas for her breakfast (supervised, of course, and with a knife that won’t cause injury). Today she helped me measure and rinse quinoa, and she was beaming as she ran to the drawer to grab the measuring cups before I could mention that we would need them. If she’s doing this at 2 1/2, I can only imagine the culinary creations she’ll be capable of later in life.
Kitchen time is great for talking about food…how much we need for our meal, what it looks and smells like, and where it comes from. And having a vegan household means we don’t have to get all euphemistic about meat. It’s just not present in our home. She’ll discover soon enough that the cow she sees at the farm will wind up as a burger and that turkeys are raised to become deli meat and Thanksgiving dinner, but we don’t have to rush those conversations. And no, we’re not looking forward to them. We certainly hope that when she does make those discoveries, she will also understand that we don’t need those foods to be happy and healthy.
And yes, when cooking with kids it sometimes always takes longer to get that cake batter stirred or that quinoa on the stove, but it’s totally worth it. And yes, things will get messy, but kids love to clean up as much as they enjoy making the mess. I find kitchen time to be a true pleasure. I see a lot of confidence in my child, and the time spent together is meaningful and joyful. I much prefer this over turning on the television to keep her occupied while I throw together some meaningless supper.