Penelope is rapidly leaving her baby days behind, and while that crushes my mama heart it is so fun to watch her personality and skills unfold. As a Montessori parent, I know that my children will desire independence. At 14-months-old, we are starting to see more and more interest in working in practical tasks around the house. Particularly in the kitchen, Penelope is really starting to soak in all this wonderful kitchen work her siblings are doing.
Montessori at Home: Work in the Kitchen at 14-Months
Now, I’m not going to tell you that Penelope is over here making omelets and scrubbing dishes. While I have no doubt that she will soon be capable of so many incredible things, these early months aren’t about teaching specific types of work for us. Instead, we want to create a positive relationship with the kitchen and foster her desire to try it for herself.
In reality this looks like giving her small opportunities to participate in kitchen work. But, also teaching her fundamental skills she will need no matter what kind of work we are doing in the kitchen. These skills include:
- how to gather plates, bowls, utensils
- how to wash her hands
- where the garbage is and how to throw things away
- to work at one surface (instead of moving around with food)
In reality this looks like a lot of repetition. We try to stick to the same process over and over so she can absorb the flow. So we are washing our hands in the same place each time. We are peeling our clementine in the same way (with one bowl for the peel and one plate for the pieces.) We are keeping the work surfaces consistent.
It also looks like a lot flexibility. Flexible with tasting and eating before the process is complete. Flexible if things are spilled. Flexible if she drinks out the pitcher instead of pouring. We want to keep this process happy and light for her. We want this to be something she wants to feel successful at so that she keeps coming back for more.
Independence doesn’t happen at once. Its a journey and each little step can be taken one at a time. I’m excited to watch this kitchen work at 14 months blossom into all sorts of work as she gets older.