Welcome back, Dear Readers! In these days of increasing heat and humidity, I hope you are finding ways to enjoy the outdoors while staying *somewhat* cool (this is possible, right?). We are enjoying more outside water play; we currently have two (!!) kiddie pools set up. We will soon open our swimming pool, and I just peeked at our plastic deck chairs, which have been sitting uncovered all fall, winter, and spring and are now covered in a layer of dirt and pollen. This current situation (hot, humid days and dirty deck chairs) has reminded me of another classic Montessori activity for young children–table scrubbing! Let me connect the dots for you.
When I did my Montessori training for primary children (2.5-6 y.o.), I was amazed by all of the layers of purpose for so many of the Montessori Practical Life activities–table scrubbing is an excellent example of this! The direct aims of table scrubbing are to teach a young child the process of how to scrub a table, including setting up the needed materials, doing the scrubbing, and then cleaning up the entire activity. The indirect aims are to teach coordination, concentration, independence, and order (read: categorizing and sequencing), as well as preparing a child for working right-to-left (pre-writing and pre-reading). The official steps in this lesson are many, and I’m not here to replicate those; in fact, I’m here to suggest that you simply give your child a bucket, access to soap and water, and a child-size scrub brush, and let him/her scrub some outside furniture and toys. If your plastic deck chairs are like mine, they could use some scrubbing. And the children in your care, who enjoy water play, might also find scrubbing fun and meaningful (and another way to stay cool in the heat!).