“It is necessary to prepare an active environment for the child , not only in the school but also in the home”- Maria Montessori
At every stage, the child’s wish is that we would help him to do it himself. This wish is even stronger once the child can walk. He now moves like the adults in his environment and wants to do what he sees them doing. It is important to create an environment that meets this needs.
As his first birthday approached, I made changes to our environment to support my son’s new abilities. It has been amazing to see his response to these changes and his desires to do things for himself and help us. I will be writing about the different changes. Today I want to talk about the hand washing station. I set this up about a 5 days ago and have been helping him with the process but today, I wanted to observe and take pictures so I let him do it completely by himself.
When he says he is done, I help him down, wipe him up and then it is time to wash his hands.
That’s it! It is easier to get stairs so that he can was his hands at the sink but think how much intellectual work is involved in remembering every step. Also think of how much his gross and fine motor skills are being used. How much coordination is required to carry a bowl of water to the toilet, fit the bowl back in the hole and hang the towel back on.
All this at 12 months old… I find it amazing. More than all of these, he loves it. You can tell he likes the responsibility and ability.
Since I had my camera, I captured pictures of another responsibility that he takes very seriously… taking his dirty diaper to the laundry bucket.
1. This is not the usual set up for the hand washing station.
– There are usually a pitcher for the child to fetch water and pour it into the bowl, and a bucket to pour the dirty water into and then take the bucket to dispose the water. I wanted to start as simple as possible so I only have the bowl. I do think he is ready for the pitcher so I will add one soon.
– The soap is usually a bar soap. I chose to use the liquid soap because it is what he sees us using and I also didn’t want him playing with the soap or eating it.
– There is usually a mitten for wiping the table and bowl. I will add this too but I wanted him to master the napkin first.
2. The diaper bucket could be in the toilet and this would make more logical sense but because of our temperature and environment, I worry about introducing roaches to his room so I do not want any urine or waste in the vicinity of his room.
3. I already had everything I used for this set up. I wish the table was nicer but it is what I had and it cost $1 from the salvation army about 5 years ago. I put the hole and took out the baskets that were in it. The mirror was also from a yard sale and cost less than $5. The bowl was 200 naira which is a little over $1. My point is that this set up doesn’t have to cost you a lot.
4. Finally, I really hate our bathroom floors, they never look clean no matter how much we scrub. But it’s a rental and we can’t do anything about it so…
Comments, thoughts, questions… always welcome! Please share your setups too.
Live a Good Life!