Montessori: Practical Life – Learning to Clean Up at the Table

Sarah loves cloths and sponges! She loves squeezing them, running them through her fingers and sucking on them! So I thought, why not put this fascination to good use?

Inspired by this post of Otis pouring himself a drink, I thought Sarah could be more involved at meal times. I put together this simple cleaning basket for when she has finished eating. The sponge is for wiping the table and the cloth is for wiping her hands and face. I dampened each lightly so they weren’t dripping but just wet enough so she could wipe the table.

Sarah’s seen Jack wipe the table many times so she didn’t need much demonstration. With sponge in hand she happily wiped and wiped…and wiped. Jack has a sponge and cloth too and took great pride in showing Sarah how to wipe her hands and face…’See, just like this Sarah’.

I’m still thinking about where I can leave the cleaning basket so it’s accessible to Jack. I would like it to become a part of the meal-time routine so in the pantry makes sense. If it is in the pantry, Jack will need to wet the cloths somehow so I’ll need to have the Learning Tower near the sink so he can access the taps. Hmmm so still thinking. Usually I wet the cloths for Jack but I would like him to do this step himself.

But for now, it’s a good start. Sarah sure enjoyed cleaning up her meal space.


10 Replies to “Montessori: Practical Life – Learning to Clean Up at the Table”

  1. I think my son would love to be given this responsibility as well. What about using a spray bottle so he could spritz the towels and sponge? We’ve been letting Eli use one to spray things out on the patio to help him develop greater hand strength. Using it for this would give the activity a real useful purpose.

    1. Brilliant! Thanks ladies…hmmm now to find a small spray bottle that Jack will be able to manage…

      1. Kylie D'Alton says:

        Hmm. I’ll keep a look out. Spray bottles for little hands are hard to come by but I have seen a few with smaller triggers that may work for him. Jack looks like he is having a great time. There is something really satisfying about cleaning but also the action of wiping. Lovely!

  2. I was going to say a spray bottle too! That’s how we do our little table.

  3. I don’t have low sinks in my classroom so I use a “work water dispenser” which is a ceramic water dispenser that’s open at the top for a jug to fit into, upside down. It works really well! Maybe you could try a small one in the pantry for wetting sponges?

  4. debchitwood says:

    I love this … and the photos are adorable! I featured your post at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/LivingMontessoriNow

  5. Kylie D'Alton says:

    I didn’t see it before. Great idea to put a sheet under Sarah’s chair.

    1. Yeah, it’s just an old wrap. Not particularly pretty but definitely saves me mopping the floor under the table after every meal. Just pick it up and shake it out 😀

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