Today was our first day back at NIDO for the semester (toddler Montessori program) and Kai is in an older group now so the activities were so much broader. They have mini human EVERYTHING. It’s amazing. Being in this group Kai now has access to a mini sink, being able to cut up his own fruit, wiping up mess, setting tables and other practical life skills like that.
It was lovely to be back but I will admit, it was hard. Considering we do a mix of attachment parenting (I am not one to label but I guess that’s what it is) and Montessori styled things at home, which can sometimes be polar opposites, Kai can struggle within an environment like today. The lady who runs the group has an extremely wonderful knowledge, passion and respect for Montessori education and children. She tried helping Kai with a task and he just lost it. After that, every time she even so much as walked past, he would cry. A lot of the other babies were extremely independent and happy doing their own tasks while Kai was gripping onto me for cuddles and comfort.
Kai is super independent at home. He plays for so long on his own, will happily leave my side to adventure when we leave the house and sometimes prefers to be on his own to figure things out. He thrives so much when we implement Montessori principles into our parenting and home so I know it is right for us, we’ll just keep at it until he’s comfortable and happy. I won’t force him into anything and we’ll adapt along the way.
In between meltdowns, though, Kai did seen to enjoy it. He played happily with so many of the toys, explored around and then went straight to cutting up a banana! They had a little mini cutting board, a child-safe knife, a tiny bin and a chair at a bench. I was instructed to show Kai how to peel the banana, to encourage him to put the peel into the bin, to chop the banana, to grab a plate from the shelf and put the banana on it and then carry the plate to the table to eat! So that is what we did! It definitely took a while and there was a little confusion and frustration from Kai at some points but he was so proud of himself when he was chopping up the fruit. He knew exactly what he was meant to do when he saw the knife and the banana because we’ve done it a few times at home, he just can’t quite do it on his own yet. It was amazing to see him pick up the knife and attempt to cut the banana straight away though.
So anyway, this afternoon I went home and re-arranged his room and toy area in the kitchen. I simplified his room again, de-cluttering and making sure all the toys that were out were stimulating and educational. Then I moved one of his toy shelves and turned it into a little mini kitchen prep area! I went to Hot Dollar and bought some cute little mini human things to add to what I already had! I cut up two face cloths into four to make tiny little cloths for wiping up spills. So, this is where we will try to encourage preparation of his own food!
It’s pretty awesome to see how much he takes in. Today I helped him open the jar of sultanas, put some on his plate and carry them to the table to eat. We peeled a banana again and he carried the peel to the bin himself. We didn’t quite make it to the cutting and eating part though! I showed him how to pour his own drink and then clean up his spills and put the cloth into the dirty clothes basket.
We’ll see how it goes!