Working in the kitchen is so rewarding. Our children love helping in the kitchen and preparing food. The children have responsibilities to help with chores in the kitchen like unpacking the dishwasher and setting the table and find much pride in preparing their own food.
“The things he sees are not just remembered; they form a part of his soul.”
One of my favorite things to do, and make a point to do most nights, is to cook. I love the process of preparing vegetables, marinating meats, and enjoy the wonderful food that finds its way to our table. I am happy to see my children have found much of the same love.
One way we have fostered this love for the kitchen is to setup a space in the kitchen for the children at an early age. We found the Montessori Method when our son (now almost 4) was 12 months old. This is a picture of the cabinet he had at an early age. We bought glass plates from the dollar store and cups from a second hand store. Accidents happen and it is tough to see something beautiful break during the child’s learning process. I almost cried when the milk pitcher in the picture broke while Samuel practiced his pouring. Such is life! We always have a healthy snack on his level and a basket of child sized utensils for him to use. Over the years we have moved to different houses and now this same setup is in one of the bottom drawers in our kitchen. The kids love being able to get their own kitchen materials and it is so nice to ask a child to get their own drink or snack while, as a busy mom, I’m in the middle of my own kitchen projects.
After reading Kids in the Kitchen by Sara Cotner and Kylie D’Alton I asked my mother-in-law to make Samuel (4) and Avalyn (2) aprons. (She has made more for other Montessori friends too!) They LOVE them and really feel like they are an important part of our meal making. I highly recommend getting Kids in the Kitchen for any child interested in working in the kitchen. Samuel, above, is using all adult size utensils and bowls. The knife on the left is one of our small pairing knife. He usually chooses to use a butter knife, but likes the pairing knife too. We still encourage Avalyn to use a butter knife, but there are many awesome child size utensils in many places like For Small Hands and IKEA.
Without a doubt this painter’s stool as been the best purchase we have made for our children. It is small and light weight. (You will see it in many pictures on this blog because both kids use it so often.) We found this one at Lowes Home Improvement. The downside is that it is plastic which is generally something Montessorians try to stay away from. We have moved this stool to 6 homes and it has withstanded the beatings that moves can do to furniture and the love our children shower on it as they slide it into place to get close to anything I am doing on the kitchen counter. There are many awesome DIY learning tower posts out there, but here’s one of the best learning towers I have found.
Recently we have added kitchen chores to our kitchen learning. We have adopted a commission based chore chart after taking the Dave Ramsey FPU course for the second time. The kids work to help the family by setting the table and unloading the dishwasher then get a commission for their work. The whole family has found a great love for this process and we hope to instill a work ethic in our children while helping them learn important tasks at home.
Here are some other great sites to check out that will help with your Montessori Kitchen:
Living Montessori Now has a post on Infant Kitchen Baskets.
How We Montessori gives an awesome description of their Montessori Kitchen space.
Joyful Abode has a Mini Fridge Makeover that is definitely on my Pinterets to-do list!
Have Fun Setting Up!