The holiday season has arrived and this one holds the promise for more warmth and community than the one we spent in isolation last year. Youngsters are getting excited about the family plans ahead whether that’s sharing a small meal together or traveling to see family that they maybe haven’t seen in over a year!
One of the beautiful things about the Montessori approach to education is that students are instilled with a sense of independence coupled with an understanding of their place within a broader context (an aspect of Montessori education called Cosmic Education). The holidays are the perfect time to put this theory into action as they provide opportunities for special moments and larger groups of people.
Students of all ages are capable of helping in this holiday season and below you will find a list of age-appropriate activities that your student can participate in.
Our toddlers are learning just how independent and capable they can be. The options below can help solidify some of this education by giving them an opportunity to practice it at home!
Baking is a great activity for your toddler. They are able to pour liquids and dry ingredients into a mixing bowl, and will love to help you measure everything out. Not only does baking give your toddler a way to contribute to the special day, it also helps lay foundational math skills like counting and measuring.
Toddlers can help cut soft fruit with a butter knife for fruit salads or other cooking projects. In doing this they will develop the skills, attention span, and interest in cooking as they get older. This also helps give them a sense of independence in their own self-care and can lay the groundwork for them getting their own snacks in the future!
Take a walk with your toddler and pick flowers outside for a vase at the table. Toddlers can help make the arrangements themselves and will take pride in contributing to a beautiful and festive table.
Primary students are learning to balance their inward and outward worlds. At this age they are really focused on their independence and inner worlds, but they are also very intrigued by their social world and learning how to share kindness and generosity. Giving your primary student an opportunity to share their skills and generosity will help solidify their understanding that their unique individuality has an important role in a broader community.
little hands make light work…
Have your child help in the kitchen. Perhaps they can be in charge of washing and tearing leaves for a salad, in helping to pick out what recipes to cook, and in anything that involves pouring and mixing. They can also help with clearing and washing dishes!
the art of hosting…
Your student can practice their Grace and Courtesy Curriculum by greeting guests, taking their coat, and showing them where to sit. Make sure they ask if their guests would like something to drink or eat!
Primary students are constantly exploring their creative flair. They can help make and put up decorations around the house.
Lower Elementary students work a lot with literacy and creativity. They are also at the age where they are better understanding their place within a larger context (like a family or social gathering!). They are ready to help with more detailed aspects of your holiday plans and can be asked to participate in a wide range of preparation activities.
Put your student in charge of one recipe they can execute more or less independently. Start off small with the younger ones (ie: a cheese plate) and get more complex with your student’s age (ie: a simple side dish).
Your Lower Elementary student is likely very excited for the social opportunities presented at the holidays. Encourage them to offer refreshments to your guests or even come up with a few “conversation starter” games.
Have your student come up with the seating chart for your event and encourage them to create beautiful name placards for the table.
Upper Elementary kiddos are used to operating with great independence and are learning the importance of kindness, grace, and courtesy. These students are on the cusp of young adulthood and can be relied on for all of the suggestions above plus their ability to participate in group conversations and hosting responsibilities.
Your student can help set the table (and be trusted with those valuable holiday dishes!) and make it beautiful. They can be responsible for everything from ironing the table cloth to polishing the silver. Encourage them to add their own flair to the setting and welcome the creative input they suggest.
thank you for coming!
Whether you are thanking a host for a lovely evening or a guest for bringing a tasty offering, writing thank you notes is great practice for your student. Put them in charge of keeping track of who gets a thank you card in addition to actually writing and sending the cards themselves.
We are wishing everyone a warm, welcoming, safe, and beautiful holiday season. Whether your celebrations are large or small, public or personal, we hope that everyone gets to spend a moment with the ones they love around them and share in the beauty of something special, bringing light to these short days.