Adventures with Pouring

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Works that we set up for our children will not be done perfectly and they should not be done perfectly for that matter! Maria Montessori was adamant that children should receive  brief lessons with minimal language as long lessons and lots of language distract children from truly watching what is to be done with the work. Once a child has received a lesson, she is free to interact with the material and explore it. A child should only be stopped if her safety, the safety of another or the safety of the material is in question. These aspects of the Montessori philosophy sound so wonderful in theory, but I’ve found it difficult to let the exploration unfold at times. 

I recently set up a water pouring work for my son at a small table in our kitchen. After viewing many lovely photos of toddlers peacefully pouring water from small pitchers into glass vessels, I could only imagine that our pouring experience would be the same. Here is a photo journey of what actually happened:

First I showed M how to pour the water into the glass and take and a drink. Then it was his turn.

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“Ooo wawa!” said Mateo. My hopes and expectations were extremely high and adult centered at this point.

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Tries pouring!! (for five seconds)

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“Does this jar fit inside this pitcher?”

IMG_0054 “Should I dump out all of the water and wave the pitcher around?” Yes!

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I fear for the safety of the pitcher and quickly substitute a recycled bottle. A lid to unscrew adds to the interest!

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More actual pouring! Nice!

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And what would a pouring work with a toddler be without jubilant splashing! Notice the orange towel in the top corner of most of the photos 🙂

 

All in all, this was a great work for M. I will leave it set up with the plastic bottle until I think we are ready to try the glass again. Montessori believed that children should use real tools including water glasses and glass plates. She found that children learned to give great respect to materials once they learned that the materials could break when not treated properly. I believe this as well and we will get the glass pitcher out again. We have recently had several glass bowels and glasses break, so we are taking a small respite from the glass for both of our sakes.

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