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Glass in the Classroom and Home

Whenever possible, try to build a control of error into each activity so it becomes clear to your child when she has made a mistake. The rationale behind letting children use cups and bowls that break if they are dropped or misused is that children quickly learn to be careful and controlled when they use them. Mistakes are an opportunity for patiently showing your child once more how to do a task correctly, and generally lead to a new lesson in problem-solving: “How do we gather up all those beads?” or “How do we safely clean up the broken pieces?”

Select toys, tools, and other everyday items that your child will use on the basis of their appropriate size, ease of handling, and beauty. When you choose trays, pitchers, and other utensils for your child to use in everyday life, avoid things which are cheap and made of plastic. Look instead for the most attractive materials you can find and afford. Children respond to the beauty of wood, glass, silver, brass, and similar natural materials.

Young children absorb and remember every nuance of their early home environments. The aim is for you to design activities that will draw your child’s interest and to create prepared surroundings that are harmonious and beautiful.

© 2008 Dorling Kindersley; reprinted with permission of the publisher.

Glass in Class

—by Kelly Mannion, M. Ed.

Shall I use wood or plastic trays in my classroom? Work with traditional materials or make my own? Have sewn polish cloths or let the children wrap the flannel squares around their tiny fingers? We’re pretty specific, we Montessorians. We like things just so. We tend to prepare our environments somewhat methodically. Like most teachers, I have a rationale for a certain way of doing things and a preference to which I am unwaveringly committed.

So why glass? Ahh, the appeal of smooth, solid, aesthetically-pleasing glass… the good weight in the hand that makes for real substance. The swishing sound of grain poured into a glass bowl is just plain satisfying. And who doesn’t get a little kick out of the clinking point of interest that a bean or a bead makes when it hits the bottom of a glass bowl?

Let the Children do WHAT!?!
While I thought my trainers insightful for suggesting we provide real objects for the children, I thought it preposterous when they advised us to let the children experience firsthand the consequence of dropping a breakable glass —and then allow them to clean up themselves!

However, this convert will tell you there is nothing quite like watching the young child realize that a broken glass or plate is not a disaster. It’s just a broken glass or plate and