I’m a real fan of Montessori food preparation activities. Having young children use real knives is something many parents worry about, though. John Bowman’s Montessori at Home eBook has a section on cutting with knives – right after his “Cutting with Scissors” section. Here’s a helpful and reassuring excerpt from Montessori at Home on cutting with a knife. (Note: Because my blog dimensions are different, the layout won’t be the same as in the Montessori at Home eBook.)
Disclosure: This post contains For Small Hands and Montessori at Home affiliate links at no cost to you.
Cutting with a Knife
Excerpt from Montessori at Home!
As a Montessori teacher, I often saw fear in parent’s eyes when we showed them the celery cutting material, which included a sharp paring knife. More than one parent reconsidered sending their child to Montessori school! Not to worry, cutting is like other skills. A child’s skill level builds slowly, with plenty of practice, until the child is ready for each new step.
Like scissors, cutting with a knife is a complex skill. The fingers of one hand stabilize the object and have to move out of the way as the other hand cuts. The knife has to be held perpendicular or it may slide off and cut you. The right amount of pressure and sawing motion must be exerted on the blade to make it cut properly. There is a lot going on and it takes practice. All of the activities we have covered so far build the necessary fine motor control for complex skills like cutting.
With a banana and a dull dinner knife, a toddler can practice. For a 2-3 year old, try using a self-contained activity, as at right.
L Photo: Chasing Cheerios
R photo: Montessori Album
Videos: Cutting & serving a banana Peeling carrots
Try banana cutting with a plastic knife first, as at left. Next, your child can cut cheese, which is a bit firmer, with a dull dinner knife. A pickle, at right, is wet and has at least one curved surface, increasing the challenge. You will have to decide when your child is ready to use a sharper knife to cut vegetables like celery. Provide plenty of practice at each step.
[First photo], a carrot peeling material from Counting Coconuts. It has a small peeling tool and a hand wave slicer, adding new tools. [Second photo], another great Counting Coconuts activity – egg slicing. This uses a hinge type egg slicer. [Third photo]: learning to cut with a knife and fork at MontessoriMOMents. Mastering these skills builds a positive self-image and an “I can do it!” attitude that stays with children as they get older.
Video: Egg slicing
Even buttering bread can be made into a Montessori activity. This material organizes and isolates the essential elements and the task in an aesthetic way that helps a child focus attention and internalize a sense of beauty and order.
Photo: Counting Coconuts
Excerpt used with permission of John Bowman.
More Excerpts from Montessori at Home!
Montessori at Home! eBook
The 3rd edition of Montessori at Home eBook is available exclusively at Living Montessori Now for only $10.95 for 512 pages with over 300 early-learning activities!
In the eBook, you’ll also find a quick start guide, 225 educational digital tablet app recommendations, hundreds of links to sites, blogs, and videos, and 76 pages of printable materials!
You can get a free download of 51 sample pages from Montessori at Home eBook by clicking here! (This includes information on John’s simplified Montessori reading sequence.)
Here’s the direct link to the purchase page for Montessori at Home!eBook. Here’s the direct link to the purchase page for the Montessori at Home! Materials Bundle (includes the Montessori at Home eBook AND over $60 worth of Montessori Print Shop materials to go with the book for only $19.95).
Montessori Monday Link-Up
If you have some Montessori activity trays/lessons to share, please link up below. It’s fine to link up a post from your archives – and you may link up anytime during the week! Your post may be any Montessori-inspired activity or idea. It doesn’t need to be related to my Montessori Monday post.
Link up your exact post URL so that we can find your activity if we return to the linky at a later date (which I often do when I’m looking for activities for a roundup post). I publish the Montessori Monday post and linky at 6:00 a.m. EST each Monday and keep the linky open throughout the week.
Please place the Montessori Monday button (using the code from the right sidebar) in your post or put a link back to this post. Let’s use Montessori Monday to gain inspiration/ideas and to encourage each other! If you would leave an encouraging comment on the post linked up ahead of you (along with any other posts you’re drawn to), that would be awesome! Thanks for participating!
For community discussions, please join us at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page, We Teach Montessori Group, and/or Google+ Montessori Community. The We Teach Montessori group has a Member Resources Sharing (for resources such as freebies and series) as well as a Linky Party for We Teach Montessori. We Teach Montessori has a linky just like the one here except that it’s continuous where you may add your Montessori-inspired activities and ideas to the same linky. New links will go to the top of the linky. I’d love to see us build up a great collection of Montessori-inspired ideas there, too. After you link up here, why not hop over to the We Teach Montessori Group and link up there?! And don’t forget the Saturday/Sunday Parent/Teacher Preparation Days share where you may share a kid-related activity of any kind at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page!
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