Saturday, 12 November 2011

Sewing and Montessori: when two passions meet

Step aside Montessori colour tablets - you just can't compete with the prepared environment of my local sewing machine repair shop.

Whist picking up my newly serviced sewing machine (which I had broken whilst making a puzzle ball) Freddy (23 months) noticed the colourful display of cotton reels.  As he ran his fingers over the reels and named the colours I felt so proud of him.

The  experience got me thinking about how to set up an activity related to this wonderful experience and this is what I came up with:

The basket in the middle contains reels of coloured embroidery thread and the coloured 'pots' are actually coloured pencil holders which were part of my cheap Montessori materials order.   [I feel like I should point out that although many of the materials that I bought were of 'average' quality these pencil pots are beautiful and well made.]   The activity involves placing the correct colour cotton reel in the pencil pot.

I think that because we have been working on colours for a while now Freddy knew exactly what to do and got straight to work.  This was the first time that I have seen him fully engaged with a task from start to finish and it was brilliant to witness.  He got some of the colours wrong and then corrected himself and I realised how hard it is to stay quiet and not jump in to 'help'. 

Afterwards Freddy decided to make a tower with the pencil holders before putting everything away again.

Some hard core Montessori enthusiasts would have stopped him from using the materials for anything other than the original task but my rule is that if they are used for a real 'purpose' i.e. not being used to bang his brother's head then I see it as just another learning opportunity.

Can I just add that I don't usually force my child to wear pyjamas that are way to big for him (notice the feet) but it is a great way to get the floor dusted :)


  1. What a brilliant idea! I love these colourful activities! I will do them with my kids! Thanks, Rachael!

  2. Thanks Marina,
    I hope yours like them as much as Freddy.

  3. I so agree with the "purpose" even when materials are used "incorrectly". Our "wrong" can be their "right"

  4. That is a really great idea! I love how you allowed your little one to take the lead. I have a hard time with that sometimes!

  5. What a lovely activity! I would see your son's new activity as a creative extension, although I am a progressive Montessorian. I just pinned your post to my DIY Sensorial Extensions Pinterest board and added your blog to my Montessori Toddler Environment post at (should have done it sooner!) Thanks so much for linking up with Montessori Monday!

  6. What a great idea! ;-) I also leave my son (and other children in home based daycare) do other things with prepared materials as long, as they do it in a creative way...


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