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.
John Bowman’s Montessori at Home eBook (available exclusively as part of the Montessori at Home eBook and Materials Bundle in the Living Montessori Now shop) is filled with amazing ideas for families.
The Montessori at Home! eBook and Materials Bundle Available Exclusively on Living Montessori Now!
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 the Montessori at Home! Materials Bundle,which includes the Montessori at Home eBook AND over $60 worth of Montessori Print Shop materials to go with the book (now only $14.95)!
- Phases of the Moon (3-part cards & chart)
- Animals of the Continents
- Continents 3-Part Cards
- Land & Water Form Photo Book
- World – Control Maps, Masters and Labels
- Moveable Alphabet – Print – (includes full instructions)
- Sentence Cards – Step 1 – Set 1
- Word and Picture Cards – Step 1 – Read Pictures
- 1-100 Math Series
- Geometric Matching Cards
- Geometric Solids 3-Part Cards – Blue
- Skeleton Nomenclature Cards
- Tree Nomenclature Cards
- Phonics Sound and Picture Sorting
- Association of Objects
- What Does Not Belong
- The Five Senses
- Plant or Animal?
- Animals and Their Names
- Color Grading Cards
- Metal Insets – Shape Outlines
Excerpts and Activities from the Montessori at Home eBook
you can read all the excerpts from the book that I’ve shared here at Living Montessori Now:
How to Prepare a Montessori Jar for Meaningful Preschool Activities at Home (an activity prepared using one of the book’s printables)
Activities Using Some of the Montessori Print Shop Materials from the Montessori at Home eBook and Materials Bundle
Here are activities I published using just 4 of the 21 Montessori Print Shop materials from the Montessori at Home eBook and Materials Bundle:
Again, John Bowman’s Montessori at Home eBook is available exclusively as part of the Montessori at Home eBook and Materials Bundle in the Living Montessori Now shop!
Learn more about my eBook Montessori at Home or School: How to. Teach Grace and Courtesy!
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