Children absolutely love to do real life activities; to mimic their parents or the adult in the house – doing adult things. It gives little ones a feeling of independence and success. Scrubbing is one such activity, falling under the Practical Life component of the Montessori curriculum.

Practical life scrubbing with montessori

The materials you will need for a scrubbing activity in a Montessori classroom are: a tray to accommodate the materials, a jug, a basin and bucket (or two containers for clean and dirty water), a brush on a dish, sponge on a dish and a bar of soap on a dish plus a drying cloth and apron. This might sound like quite a lot of things for a simple scrubbing exercise but there is a reason for the exactitude: children, who thrive on order and routine, will learn through the process and precise steps required by the activity. Have a look at the below tutorial by My Montessori Works, which describes the process of washing a table:

When presenting this lesson to a child, it’s important to name each object (or have the child name it) as you remove it from the tray (before commencing the activity), as a tool for developing vocabulary. Once all the objects have been removed and named, ask the child to fill the jug with water (carrying it carefully and with two hands) and decant half the water into the clean water container. And then show the child how to scrub the table, which can be done in either of two ways:

  • By dipping the soap into the water to make it wet, and the rubbing it over the table in a circular motion to spread it evenly and then scrubbing the surface with a brush thereafter.
  • By wetting the brush and rubbing it onto the soap and then scrubbing the table.

Children will enjoy seeing bubbles form as they scrub the soapy table – and remember, the more soap, the more bubbles.

When the child is finished, the clean up process is activated by sponging down the table to remove water, in a rinse and repeat process. Once the soap and bubbles have been removed, then the child will dry the table with the towel. The dirty water will be emptied into the bucket (or dirty water container) and each item will be cleaned and dried.

There will be lots of organisation and order going on in a child’s mind in order to process each step, which is exactly why this activity is so wonderful. What’s also great is that it can be applied at home – children can scrub anything: a slide or swing set, garden chairs, their toys, the floor etc – so have their controlled environment at the ready, and watch as they revel in the success of their efforts.

This is an initial lesson on the road to reading. If you’d like further information about this tutorial, feel free to contact us at info@saintandrewsmontessori.com. We’re happy to answer any questions.

Photo by Daniele Levis Pelusi on Unsplash.