At eight years old, Caspar D’Alton can confidently whip up a quiche.
But the Brisbane youngster is not a culinary prodigy, he has simply been taught practical life skills through the Montessori way of learning.
Caspar’s mother Kylie D’Alton is an advocate for the philosophy, and told Daily Mail Australia the idea was to give children the skills to do things for themselves and in turn develop confidence.
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Helping out: Brisbane mother Kylie D’Alton has shared how to implement the Montessori philosophy in to the home
Hands-on learning: The mother-of-two runs the blog How We Montessori to share ideas with other parents
Little learners: She uses Montessori at home with her sons Caspar, eight, and Otis, five (pictured together)
‘Montessori is an educational approach, I also think it’s a parenting philosophy, that follows the children’s developmental needs,’ she said.
‘It’s important for their own confidence, they learn what they can and can’t do.
‘It’s easier as a parent as your child is able to help themselves around the home … and it makes them feel empowered.’
Life experience: Montessori is an educational philosophy that encourages children to do things for themselves
In place: At home, things can be put at a child’s level giving them the tools to be self sufficient
Self motivated: At home Ms D’Alton’s kids have access to craft materials that they can use
WHAT IS MONTESSORI?
Montessori is an educational approach developed by Italian physician and educator Maria Montesori.
It is based on the natural laws of human development.
Children are encouraged to do things for themselves, explore and solve problems.
Fore more, visit Montessori Australia.
Ms D’Alton, who lives in Brisbane, Australia, incorporates a Montessori philosophy at home with her two sons: Caspar, eight, and Otis, five.
At home the boys are given the tools to become more self-sufficient by placing things like their wardrobe, access to drinking water and brooms at a height they can reach.
This means from a younger age they are able to get their own glass of water instead of asking, they can dress themselves and even clean up if they spill something.
The practical life skills encompass all aspects of the home, including the kitchen.
Hands-on: At home Montessori encompasses a very practical way of learning
Learn and grow: Kids are encouraged to explore and solve their own problems
‘Having kids in the kitchen is so important to me, as eating and preparing food is something we need to be able to do,’ Ms D’Alton said.
‘Even toddlers, though they might be a little bit messy, can get involved in the kitchen … and really help.’
Ms D’Alton runs the parenting blog How We Montessori, and a recent post was titled: What a three-year-old can do in the kitchen.
Skills included washing dishes, cracking eggs, cutting and chopping, kneading bread or using an egg beater, just to name a few.
In the kitchen: Children as young as three years old are able to help out in the kitchen
Challenging: By placing learning activities in easy to access places, children can shape their own educational path
Other posts she has done include activities for children broken down in to age groups, how to make Montessori affordable in the home and craft activities.
In an age where screen time for children is only increasing, Ms D’Alton said Montessori exposes children to the real world.
‘Not only do they have a lot of screen time, but they’re really overprotected in terms of parents don’t want them outside climbing trees, playing in the creek or using kitchen knives,’ she said.
‘I think the long terms benefits are we have children who are confident and capable, and they are also really aware of their environment.’
MONTESSORI AT HOME: WHAT A THREE-YEAR-OLD CAN DO IN THE KITCHEN
Ms D’Alton said there are plenty of ways toddlers can help out in the kitchen. IN a recent blog post, she shared her list of ways three-year-old’s can do in the kitchen:
Using an apple slicer (similar slicer)
Cooking with heat - using a fry pan or skillet
Cracking eggs! A favourite in our home
Cutting and chopping
Growing sprouts (we love and use this the small biosnacky sprouter)
Making butter (using a butter maker jar)
Putting dishes away (in their own kitchen drawer)
Kneading bread (or making pasta)
Using a mortar and pestle
Mashing (with this mini masher)
Cracking nuts (olive wood nut cracker)
Making breakfast (and pouring milk)
Learning the parts of a plant we eat - fruit, roots, flower, leaves, stems (using matching card set with my own printed labels)
Spreading (even better if it’s child-made spread)
Their kitchen rules: Giving children the skills to do things for themselves can make them feel empowered
School community: At school, children are placed in classes with kids from three to six years old so the older kids can help out
Ms D’Alton’s children attend a Montessori school.
There they must meet the Australian curriculum, but children are given more freedom to learn at their own pace and choose their lessons from a range of options.
Students are also placed in classes with kids from three to six years old, so the older kids in the class can help with the younger students.
The schooling method allows children to work at their own pace, for example Ms D’Alton said while her son was learning to count to 20, another boy in his class was learning division.
Life skills: Giving children access to tools such as brooms enables them to clean up after themselves
The day’s findings: Nature is a big part of the philosophy, with children encouraged to explore
Ms D’Alton said she started the blog because there was a lack of information available on how to incorporate Montessori at home.
‘Anyone who is interested in Montessori school should go and have a look,’ she said.
‘It’s not until you go there and see the kids working and moving around do you think wow, that’s how it works.’