Help me do it for myself.

Montessori in a Dene Kindergarten – Montessori in a Dene Grade One Classroom

Practical Life and Snack

Posted by mrsmelva on 04/01/2010

Folding the Laundry, a genuine practical life activity

I had washed our classroom laundry – tea towels, table cloths, dish cloths and a few extra sweaters. I dumped the hamper of clean laundry on the rug and the students got busy folding, helping each other as needed. They already had folding experience with folding their shoe bags each morning after putting on their indoor shoes, but other than suggesting to a few that they fold the towels “the same as you fold your shoe bag”, they did the work quickly and independently.

First step in snack, find your name tag, put it on a placemat and wash your hands.

Snack table with placemats and nametags, basket for name tags after snack, bowl with cloth for wiping up after snack.

I have changed this set up slightly, adding two more placemats so that 4 children can have snack at once, and placing a damp cloth in a basket instead of a bowl of water. If the cloth needs rinsing and wetting the student takes it to the sink This prevents water being dripped in other people’s snacks by overly enthusiastic cloth wringers!

Morning snack, cheerios in the coffee can, fruit, juice, milk.

Yes, kindergarteners can pour their own juice!

When they finish eating the student puts his/her nametag in the basaket, puts dishes in the dishwasher and wipes the placemat.

Most days snack is an option during the work period. Occasionally we all eat together when we cook something as a group (usually as follow up to a story or activity) or when there is a special celebration such as Thanksgiving dinner. These are a challenge since we have so few tables, but we use our trays and careful procedures for getting our supplies and food, and for cleaning up.

Step one, after we say grace, students get a name tag, tray and cutlery and choose a spot on the floor to eat.

Go to the serving table and choose some food - this time we had blueberry pancakes, butter (put a little on the side of your plate to spread when you sit down), bacon and syrup.

Pour your syrup and you are ready to sit down and eat.


Choosing from a selection of desserts after eating pumpkin soup at Halloween.

Cutting vegetables for pumpkin soup.

Yes, the students use real knives. I show them how, and I stay nearby to offer guidance if needed. In 21 years I have only had 2 students cut themselves badly enough to need more than a bandaid and in both cases, they chose to play with their knives rather than cut the food. Our next cooking activity will be making potato wedges for snack. Our pumpkin soup is a basic hamburger soup. I brown the hamburger with onions and garlic in dutch ovens while the children are coming into class, the smell gets them very curious. Then I introduce them to cutting the vegetables, we use carrots, celery, pumpkin, sometimes potatoes. The pumpkin is hard to cut, so I peel it and precut it into strips (preparation of the environment, think of early scissor snipping activities). The cut vegetables are rinsed and put in with the hamburger and we add water. When it boils we add some macaroni. Sometimes I add canned diced tomatoes too. It is a very flexible recipe! We season it with some seasoning salt. Everyone is given a small serving to start with and those who like it can have seconds, and some even have thirds! I serve this every year at Halloween, rather than having a sugar laden party. Invariably some parents still send a sweet treat which we have for dessert. I teach the children to sit and wait until all (or most) are done eating before cleaning up when we eat together. I set out a garbage can for scraping plates, and a pail for liquids (soup or juice) and then they place their dishes in the dishwasher. I have them stagger stack the trays since there is often food on the trays and I sanitize the trays before putting them away. I also sanitize the snack table and placemats between classes.


2 Responses to “Practical Life and Snack”

  1. kicode said

    I’m impressed Melva. You’ve been so busy lately and still have found time to add to your blog. Good documentation of what you are doing and I appreciate the fact that you respect the privacy of the students. Have you considered seeking permission from parents to use the images?

  2. Leptir said

    Your activities are just great 🙂
    Thanks for inspiration.

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