It is fascinating to see how Montessori philosophy fosters self-motivated growth and development in children, not only in the academic curriculum but in practical life skills too.
It respects the children’s innate desire and ability to explore their surroundings and learn, providing opportunities for the same.
The Montessori method of education is incorporated through Montessori classrooms. They are peaceful and respectful environments created with the motive to meet the developmental needs of each child in every stage of life.
The Montessori classroom has an area for children to engage in practical life skills, which introduces the Montessori practical life materials to children. Activities involving them are the first activities that children learn in a Montessori classroom.
Montessori practical life activities and lessons support skill-building early in childhood and fulfill the desire to be self-sufficient children.
One of the Montessori practical life materials is Montessori dressing frames which you may have come across.
Are you wondering how dressing frames are beneficial in child development in Montessori? You will get to know in this article everything about the Montessori dressing frames.
What are Montessori Dressing Frames?
Montessori dressing frames are an essential part of Montessori practical life activities and are designed for infant-toddler-aged children. Children enjoy hands-on activities, be it the curriculum or practical life skills.
Dressing frames are framed square pieces of fabric with buttons, zippers, shoe laces, and other materials. These frames can hold materials and hooks that children may encounter while dressing.
There are components in a Montessori dressing frame like – zipping frame, bow frame, lacing frame, small and large buttoning frame, hook and eye frame, safety pin frame, buckling frame, snapping frame, lacing frames, etc.
Purpose of Montessori Dressing Frames
Activities of self-care are an essential part of the Montessori curriculum. Children can benefit in many ways when you have a dressing frame at home or classroom.
- Children learn to dress themselves when they start using the dressing frames, developing a sense of independence.
- As the children use their hands while dressing up with the different components, they develop hand-eye coordination skills.
- Fastening and unfastening different types of closures on the clothing develops fine motor skills.
- Each dressing frame isolates one skill and provides the child an opportunity to perfect the skill by focusing on and repeating the necessary movements. It helps to build their concentration.
- Children learn to dress and undress themselves, which builds their self-esteem, and parents can save time.
When to introduce Montessori Dressing Frames to children?
You can introduce children to simple components in dressing frames like the Large Buttoning Frame and Zip Frame when they are 2-3 years old.
As their skill level scales up and they grow, they can work with complex components like bow tying or safety pin frames.
How do we present Montessori Dressing Frames to children?
The Zipping Frame
- Bring the frame to the table and introduce the zipping dressing frame to the child by identifying its parts- wood, zipper, and fabric.
- Ask him to work with you as you guide him.
- Tell the child that you will show them how to zip and unzip.
- Hold the top of the zipper with your fingers and slowly pull it down.
- Hold the zipper at the bottom of the frame with one hand, and pull the zipper up with your other hand.
- Let the child watch these steps closely.
- Next, ask him to perform the steps of zipping and unzipping as you observe him.
The Buckling Frame
- Invite the child to bring the frame to the table.
- Introduce the buckling dressing frame and identify its materials – wood, fabric, and buckle and guide.
- Hold the strap with a 3-finger grip and thumb on the top.
- Push it through the guide slowly. When a hump forms, you can pause.
- Pull the hump up through the guide.
- Pull back very hard to the right by grasping the tip of the strip.
- Pull through the strap by picking up the tooth, ending with a strap over the tooth.
- Repeat this step with each strap and point to the buckle.
- Pull it with the fingers of the opposite hand. Repeat until all straps are free.
- Open up the flaps.
- Let the child follow the steps slowly and try on his own.
Large Buttoning Frame
- Invite the child to bring the frame to the table or mat.
- Identify the materials in the Large buttoning frame – wood, button, and fabric.
- Tell the child that you will show them how to button and unbutton.
- Begin with placing the buttons and the holes in the line.
- Pinch the button on its side and push it halfway through the hole.
- Repeat the above step with all the buttons.
- Show the child that the button is out of the material.
- Next, from the top, pinch the button and material on the other side.
- Slide the button through the hole, adjust your grip on the button, and pinch its side through the hole.
- Pull the button until it gets through the hole.
- Repeat the steps for all the buttons as the child watches.
- After you complete showing the button and unbuttoned activity, offer the child to try the button and unbutton the frame by himself.
Bow Tying Frame
- Ask the child to bring the frame to the table.
- Introduce the bow-tying frame to the child and identify the parts like wood, knot, and fabric.
- Hold the ends of the tie and pull the ribbons out with your finger grip.
- Spread the ribbons fully.
- Place your hand on the sub-dominant side of the fabric, tuck your forefinger under the bow & pull up the bows to untie.
- Allow the ties to lie flat.
- Pull ribbons to the sides, with the red one to the dominant side and the white ribbon to the sub-dominant side.
- Open and close the flaps.
- Cross the white ribbon over to the dominant side and the red ribbon to the sub-dominant side.
- Place the ribbons in a parallel position to the center of the frame.
- Place the white ribbon above the red ribbon.
- Push both ribbons holding the red one down. Pull the white ribbon towards the dominant side.
- Hold the ends of the ribbons and pull.
- Pick up the red ribbon about one-third of the length from the cross.
- Make a loop with a 3-finger grip pinching the lace.
- Grasp the white or blue ribbon with the dominant hand and make a loop clockwise around the red ribbon. Push the white ribbon through the loop.
- Tighten the bow by grasping each loop.
- Repeat the steps with each bow.
- Invite the child to do the activity.
- Invite the child to bring the dressing frame and place it on a table.
- Introduce the snapping dressing frame and identify each component – wood, snap, and fabric.
- Pull open the top snap using a 3-finger grip.
- Hold down the fabric with your opposite hand.
- Pull the snap in the frame apart.
- Repeat the above steps until the task is complete.
- Open the snap and close it.
- Hold it back and identify the parts – socket and plug.
- Concentrate on the left of the snap with two fingers and a thumb, holding its top, secure with the dominant forefinger.
- Snap and repeat till snapping is complete.
- Invite the child to the exercise.
Where can you buy Montessori Dressing Frames?
There are many options available in the stores. Here are a few options that will make it easy for you to find the dressing frame of your choice.
- You can check out large buttoning frames from – Adena, Affordable Montessori, or Alison’s Montessori.
- A small buttoning frame is available in – Alison’s Montessori, Kid Advance, and Nienhuis Montessori.
- You can find a bow-tying frame in Nienhuis Montessori.
- You can buy snap frames from Nienhuis Montessori.
- You can get a buckling frame from Nienhuis Montessori.
DIY Montessori Dressing Frames
You can DIY at home if you find commercial dressing frames expensive.
Here are a few ideas for your help.
You can find some clothes at your home that you are not using anymore and make a dressing board, all by yourself.
- Take a large piece of square board or wood.
- Fix pieces of cloth that you have using finishing nails.
- Ensure that the fabric does not come out when pulled.
- You can sew pieces of cloth like part of a shirt that snaps up and a pocket that snaps closed.
- You can take a portion of a skirt for the button frame.
- You can use the zipper section of a sweatshirt for a zipping frame.
The kids will enjoy working with real-life materials on the board. More than one child can work together as the board is large enough.
Montessori dressing frames are an integral part of the Practical Life Montessori Curriculum. They are easy to maintain and child-friendly.
They provide a platform for children to learn to dress up before transitioning to dressing up using real-life clothing and materials. Children also enjoy dressing up without adult intervention and developing a sense of independence.