Self Care and hygiene are amongst the most integral activities one should learn from a young age.
Although the term self-care is often associated with taking a long relaxing bath or applying trending skincare products, the term often integrates a lot more than just vanity.
Activities involving self-care and hygiene are the pathway toward establishing values of independence, confidence, and self-reliance.
These activities in The Montessori program are incorporated into Montessori Practical Life Curriculum.
The Montessori Method of education promotes children to actively and independently perform activities involving self-care.
Taking the needs and requirements of the sensitive periods into account, Dr. Maria Montessori developed a systematic, scientific, and structured Prepared Environment.
The Montessori Prepared Environment effectively facilitates Montessori Practical Life Activities and allows children to become self-reliant from a very young age.
If you are a parent, educator, or immediate caregiver who wants to incorporate Montessori Self-care activities into your child’s environment, appropriate research is requisite.
Here is everything you should know about Self-care in Montessori to efficiently facilitate activities and create a child-friendly station.
What is Self Care in Montessori Exactly?
The Montessori Method of education is more than just a pedagogical approach, it is a lifestyle choice.
Self-care or care to self in Montessori is an integral part of the Montessori Philosophy that allows children to independently perform tasks and activities pertaining to self-care or hygiene.
Performing tasks such as brushing one’s hair, brushing one’s teeth, wearing shoes, and tying shoelaces, may seem to be ordinary for adults, but these tasks require fine motor skills, gross motor skills, and patience for toddlers to master.
Ideally, Self Care in Montessori refers to the activities that encourage children to partake in activities involving care for themselves.
When should you introduce Self-Care Activities?
Children during the first plane of development have Absorbent Minds and are highly susceptible to the stimuli present in the surrounding environment.
Upon taking the requirements and needs of the Sensitive Periods into account, one should familiarize their child with self-care and hygiene activities.
You can follow the guidelines to effectively establish self-care habits in your child in the Montessori way:
Acquaintance with healthy habits:
Between the ages of 8 to 18 months, the child should be introduced to daily routines such as washing hands, brushing their teeth, and blowing their nose.
It is important to demonstrate healthy and hygienic behaviors to familiarize the child with daily self-care routines.
Establish a Routine:
Once the child reaches the age range between 16 to 36 months you can introduce the child to their personal self-care station.
During this stage, the child begins to utilize their perceptual intelligence and mimic their own interpretation of self-care actions.
The child during this stage is equipped to participate willingly and independently in a daily-self care routine.
Hand and eye coordination:
Development of Gross motor skills and hand-eye coordination are a requisite for performing daily self-care tasks.
Children between 16 to 36 months can begin to perform tasks such as brushing their teeth, combing their hair, or washing their hands.
Fine Motor Development:
Fine Motor skills are the ability to perform tasks that require the movement of smaller muscles present in the hands, fingers, and wrists.
Once your child begins to comfortably adjust to their daily self-care routines, they can now begin to independently grasp, hold, or maneuver objects and perform intricate self-care tasks.
What are some self-care and hygiene activities in Montessori?
It is absolutely essential to provide developing children with activities that promote self-care and hygiene.
Children not only learn from the activities mentioned below but also enjoy themselves while they are participating in the activities.
The Montessori Self-care and hygiene activities are facilitated by the use of Montessori practical life materials that provide the children to indulge in auto-didactic learning.
The Montessori self-care activities help children achieve independence and become self-reliant.
Self-care and hygiene activities in Montessori include:
The Children are encouraged to participate in handwashing activities to develop their self-care and hygiene skills as well as give them a sense of independence. This activity is introduced to children at 2.5 years of age.
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Montessori Dressing Frames are a unique Montessori material that introduces children of 3 years of age.
The Montessori Dressing frames incorporate different types of fasteners such as:
- Buttoning frame (small and large)
- Zipping frame
- Bow frame
- Lacing frame
- Velcro frame
- Buckling frame
- Safety pin frame
- Hook and eye frame
These frames help children master different types of fasteners to help them learn how to dress themselves independently as well as facilitate the development of fine motor skills.
Folding clothes is an essential self-care activity that promotes order and structure in children. The activity is introduced to children 3 years of age.
This activity helps children learn this basic life skill, control their movements as well as learn about basic symmetry.
Lock and Keys:
The Montessori Lock and key activity is an interactive activity that incorporates padlocks and keys. It is introduced to children from 3 years to 5 years of age.
This activity encourages children to match keys with designated locks. This Montessori activity increases concentration as well as develops fine motor skills in children.
Cleaning under their Nails:
Cleaning under the nails is an important and essential hygiene skill children should acquire between the ages of 2.5 to 3 years of age.
Children are promoted to participate in this activity and develop a sense of independence as well as refine their fine motor skills.
Putting on a Coat:
The activity is introduced to children between the ages of 2.5 to 3 years of age. This activity promotes self-dependency among developing children.
How to set up a Montessori Self-Care Station?
Giving your younger one a self-care station is the first step towards establishing their independence.
Self-care stations in accordance with Montessori Philosophy empower children and encourage them to independently perform self-care tasks.
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What you will need:
Each element or furniture in the Montessori Prepared Environment is accessible, made from natural substances, and child-sized to facilitate activities.
It is important to recognize and identify your child’s current trends or interests in terms of self-care before introducing the self-care station.
Here is what you will need for creating your child’s very own self-care station:
- An open space where you can set up the station
- A shatterproof mirror should be placed around the eye level of the child.
- Use hooks and shelves to place the shelves that accommodate the self-care belongings of the child.
- It is best to provide the child with a stepping stool near a light switch for easy access and a stool for self-care material that is kept below.
- You can also provide the child with a stepping stool near the actual sink or basin to build the child’s confidence.
- Individual materials such as a hairbrush, toothbrush, towel, lotion, toothpaste, and a separate box of tissues.
Different Montessori Self-Care Stations:
Self-care is not limited to brushing one’s teeth or washing one’s hands, self-care in Montessori covers all the basics of self-care.
Here is a list of different types of Montessori Self-care stations you can provide to our children to make them independent, confident, and self-reliant from a very young age:
1. The Montessori Dressing Station:
A dressing station is an important aspect of the Montessori Self-care environment. Provide the child with child-sized Montessori dressers or wardrobes to promote independence.
Allow your child to independently pick out their outfit from head to toe and gain a new sense of confidence.
2. The Montessori Food Station:
The Montessori Food station provides children with a new and unique experience. You can provide your child with a Montessori Kitchen that will enhance their experience and help them develop a newfound interest in creating new snacks independently.
The Montessori Kitchen also provides the child with a sense of responsibility and discipline.
3. The Montessori Bathroom Station:
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When setting up a self-care station in the bathroom it is important to recognize the height of the furniture.
You can provide the child with a functioning child-sized sink where the child can independently indulge in activities such as brushing their teeth or washing their hands.
Provide the child with a box of tissue paper that will allow the child to learn how to blow their nose independently.
The child should be encouraged to use the potty seat as per the Montessori toilet training guidelines.
What are the expected outcomes of Montessori Self-care?
One can definitely acknowledge that the Montessori Method of education is more than just an educational approach.
Unlike traditional educational institutions, the Montessori Method of education does not limit the child’s development process to mere books and basic curricula.
Self-care and hygiene are integral aspects of the Montessori Practical Life Curriculum that promote your child to become confident, independent, and self-reliant from a very young age.
The Montessori Self-care activities, self-care stations, and self-care materials facilitate cognitive, physical, emotional, and social development in children.
The main outcomes of these activities are to promote your child to actively perform routine tasks and develop an interest in daily mundane chores.
When efficiently incorporated into the child’s curriculum, the self-care curriculum in Montessori promotes the child to lead a life of complete independence.