The Independent Shopper

A brief story from something I had the opportunity to witness a few days ago…

Going to the grocery store is always a family event. My husband, son, and I often times go together, so that we can pick out exactly what we want and discuss our meal plans for the upcoming week.

Per our usual Sunday afternoon activity, we visited our local Krogers to stock up for the week. There was another family who kept arriving at the same isles we went to, almost as if we had the same shopping list. They had a small boy with them, probably only about 4 years old. He had a child-sized grocery cart that he was pushing alongside his parents, which was surprisingly very full. Of course, the Montessorian mommy in me immediately noticed his independence, and thought how precious it was to see his desire to help his parents shop. My husband, poor guy, made the comment, “Wow, they actually make their child push a heavy cart like that?”, which of course led me to an in-depth conversation about the importance of what he was doing, and how it represents the beauty of a Montessori child.

He wasn’t given a grocery cart as a form of distraction, or something to keep him occupied while mom and dad shopped. He was genuinely needed, and given valuable items to be responsible for. I actually witnessed him grab eggs from the refrigerator, and carefully place them in the correct place in the cart, careful to not let them touch anything else. Amongst many things, he also had a few loafs of bread, tomatoes, and cookies; items that could’ve easily been bruised or broken if not handled correctly. His parents trusted him to carefully handle each item of food, and asked him to pick the food off of the shelf. He was given the opportunity to help, and not punished for picking up something too fast, or not picking out the right brand. His parents respected his work, and relied on him to help carry the food that they needed, despite his young age.
Continue reading

Montessori in the Home: Food Preparation


The food preparation cabinet used in our toddler community.

Adding a child-appropriate “food preparation” area in the kitchen is an easy way to bring Montessori into your home. This is a simple step towards making your home more “Montessori friendly”, and extremely practical to your family’s every day routine. A food preparation area can include anything from a small cabinet with a few simple kitchen utensils, plates, cups, etc. (keeping the tools within reach of your small child), all the way to a step stool in front of the sink. Preparing and serving food is a natural way for children to experience community. It teaches them that this is meaningful work, that there is a purpose in what they are doing; a true exercise in Practical Life. Continue reading

Setting the Table; an Exercise in Practical Life



Setting the dinner table can be defined by many adults as a “chore”, but for a child, it is a purposeful, meaningful, and fulfilling work that stimulates all of their senses. The child learns self-control, and develops a healthy self-image because the work is real and necessary. Works such as this teach “care of environment”, as they prepare the table for their friends.  With very little instruction from the Guide, the child knows exactly where to place each place mat, plate, utensil, cup, and beautiful, fresh flowers. They understand that this is important work, and gain self-confidence as they see the outcome of their efforts; a room full of happy children eating and socializing in a well prepared environment.

Source: Michael Olaf, the Joyful Child,

Homemade Soup, the Montessori Way


Children know when their work is worthy and good. They know when it measures favorable against their inspirations, talents, efforts, values, and abilities. They learn to assess themselves and their ideas honestly.

On this particular day, our Apple Community members came together, collaborated, analyzed, and assessed what needed to be done. While collecting and preparing, they showed initiative and adaptability. As a team, they had to effectively communicate and solve problems. A couple of our older community members quickly assumed a leadership role. It was incredible to observe the delegation, resourcefulness and cooperation taking place. What impressed me the most while watching these students was the respect, compassion and consideration for one another.

-Ms. Tami, Director


Chef’s Corner Book Suggestion: Kids In The Kitchen


The book, Kids In The Kitchen, is an excellent resource for both parents and educators by offering simple ways of incorporating individual food preparation for your toddler or primary aged child.  This book does an amazing job providing practical ways to bring cooking into your child’s environment; providing lists of needed items, suggestions of storage, how to create a food preparation area, and recipes to try. I encourage all who work with or have children to purchase.

Apple Slicing