Montessori at Home: Laundry

Hello Dear Readers,

This week I’ve been thinking about all of the ways that young children can participate in the process of doing the laundry.  In some Montessori classrooms, the children wash small cloths on a washboard and hang them up to dry on a drying rack with clothespins.  One of the many goals of having the children wash towels and cloths by hand is to show the work that our modern washing machines do.  In other Montessori classrooms, these towels are washed and dried in a washer and dryer, and then the children participate in folding the clean laundry and putting it away in the classroom.  Sometimes in a school setting there are restrictions on whether children can participate in loading the washer and/or dryer; however, a home setting allows for more flexibility and freedom in a child’s participation.  So let’s take a look at some ways a young child can participate in the various steps of the laundry process at home!

  • carry basket of dirty laundry to the laundry room
  • sort the laundry:  children can sort the laundry into piles by various categories, for example:  whites, light colored items, dark colored items, denim, towels, blankets, muddy clothing, etc
  • load washing machine (adult ensures that pile to be loaded will not overload machine)
  • press “start” after selecting wash cycle
  • remove wet clothes from washing machine and load into dryer
  • add dryer sheet
  • remove clothing from dryer into laundry basket
  • fold towels, match socks, fold his/her clothes (remember:  learning how to fold is a process that takes time and practice)
  • carry basket of clean, folded laundry to linen closet/bedroom/kitchen
  • put away clean laundry

Your home’s laundry process may have variations (e.g., maybe you hang clothes up to dry on hangers or a clothesline), even so, it is my hope that this list has inspired you to think about the process in your home and ways that young children can be involved.

Thanks for reading!  Be well!