Practical Life 🙌 activities provide the foundation for all other activities in Montessori education, fulfilling a child's plea: "Help me do it myself!" Through daily living exercises, such as pouring, a child gains confidence and mastery of the environment. After the refinement of individual skills, children apply them in purposeful works such as serving juice or pouring milk. Specifically, these activities contribute to the control of coordination of movement, development of concentration, and the self-esteem that comes with making a real contribution to the family.
Pouring is one of the very first 🙌 Practical Life lessons. There is dry and wet pouring. You would always start with DRY pouring of for example: coffee beans, dry pasta/beans, pom-poms, beads, rice, sand, flour, etc., before moving on to the water pouring. Also, there are two types of pouring 1:1 and 1:2. The first pouring lesson is 1:1, where a child will be pouring from one pitcher to another. The purpose of this activity is to keep it as simple as possible for a child, so that s/he has a success. With this pouring it is important to have a spout, which ensures success with pouring.
You would need: two pitchers with a spout and a tray (buy here). Spouted pitchers are the easiest to pour and the wider the spout, the earlier this activity can be introduced. Also, the larger the objects that the child is pouring, the easier it is: so you will be progressively increasing the level of difficulty by offering smaller and smaller objects.
Below are all 🎥 videos of DRY Spout Pouring 1:1 in the order from 📈 the easiest to the hardest. The easiest pouring can be introduced to a younger child, and then the activity can be modified accordingly by increasing the level of difficulty.
Levels of Difficulty of Introducing Pouring 1:1 in a Nutshell:
- 📊 EASIEST: WIDE spout pitcher and LARGE pouring objects, like dry pasta;
- 📊 EASY: WIDE spout and SMALL pouring objects;
- 📊 MEDIUM: SMALLER spout with LARGE pouring objects;
- 📊 HARD: SMALL spout and SMALL pouring objects;
- 📊HARDEST: SMALL spout and TINY pouring objects.
📊 EASY (below) would be using WIDE spout and SMALL pouring objects:
Adrian is pouring lentils. You can use any other dry beans as well.
Adrian is using a 10-oz 3.6" tall stoneware creamer (buy here) which has a flat bottom, preventing this pitcher from tipping, a generous handle and a large pour spout.
📊 MEDIUM (below): would be using SMALLER spout with LARGE pouring objects like pasta:
📊HARD (below): Adrian is using SMALL glass spout, while pouring SMALL objects:
Adrian is pouring small colored beads.
The transparency of small glass pitchers (buy here) adds a new dimension to this activity.
📊HARDEST (below): would be using SMALL spout and TINY pouring objects:
The purpose of pouring activities is to help a child to use fine-motor skills such as picking up a pitcher or a creamer and pouring. Also, during this activity problem-solving skills will be used as inevitably some of the things a child pours will spill, or a child will have to figure out whether to use one hand or both while holding a pitcher. Lastly, a child will be learning the order: if things spill, what to do next; as well as the cycle of the activity: taking the material from the shelf, beginning the task, doing it, completing and putting the material back on the shelf.
The Last Word: They Can Handle It!
Grasping a handle and pouring helps children develop their fine-motor control. One of the principles behind activities in Montessori prepared environment is that "control of error" is evident, such as when something spills. As such, children learn to correct themselves in their work, eliminating the need for adults to point out mistakes. Also, in this spirit, most of Montessori pitchers are breakable. (As a Note: Adrian has been drinking from a tiny 2 oz glass (buy here) since he was six months old, and he had never broken one. I had broken a few, and he saw the consequence of something breaking. In the process he learned cause and effect, order: the clean up process, and most importantly, he learned to be careful. Hooray to the glass!)
p.s. See here DRY Pouring 1:2, which is the 2nd Lesson in Practical Life 🙌 Activities 101 🎥 Series 🎇.