OK, so the response from my post the other day on Schiacciata was wonderful! Thank you so much to those of you who reached out to send love notes and questions!!!
We are making a long list of all these queries, and I promise we will get you those answers you seek. We have just as much fun answering your questions as we do making the foods that inspire them!
Two of the most frequently asked questions are these:
- Why do you capitalize the word PLAY? and
- Does Our Little Sous *really* help make the food?
For the answer to question number one, PLAY is just one of the 3 Words you’ll find consistently capitalized throughout the writing on this blog and across our social media channels this year. It’s one of our guiding principles for 2018, and it’s something we take very seriously!!! Check out the underlined link above for the other two words, as well as the reasons they’re so important to us.
As for the second question, yes, Our Little Sous really does get his hands dirty and help make the food here in Our Kitchen Classroom. We all do! We firmly believe in the process of raising an independent individual. The basics of food preparation and cleaning up afterward are an essential life skill that many people don’t have the opportunity to practice sufficiently until they are already adults and living on their own. We believe that’s much later than necessary to get started.
Practical Life is a Montessori term that encompasses all of the lessons in which children care for themselves, their peers, and their learning environment. It often involves such activities as sweeping and mopping the floor, preparing and serving food for others, and even lessons like lacing and tying shoes. As the name states, these are very practical activities in which even very young children can get practice for their everyday lives. These skills are just as important as the reading, writing, and mathematical lessons that tend to be the focus in a traditional school setting.
As crucial as PLAY is to our very mission here at Our Kitchen Classroom, it is the essential work of the growing child. The process by which he can experiment with the physical objects and substances with which he comes into contact informs his young hand and his developing mind. Time and repetition are key here, which is why we delight in taking all the time necessary to thoroughly explore our ingredients and the ways in which they come together.
Here’s a little sampling of what that process looks like here in Our Kitchen Classroom as we PLAY with dough.
Yes, the Reason that Our Little Sous has flour all over his face in the photo above is because he was tasting it. Has he tasted raw flour before? Sure, many times! Did that stop him from tasting it again this time? You tell me! When was the last time you tasted ALL of the ingredients that went into a dish you made?
Recently, we’ve been discussing the different properties that are characteristic of solids, liquids, and gases. Having a conversation about the various states of matter and reading about them in books is a vastly different experience than it is to feel the small particles being compressed under the weight of your own hand. Our Little Sous PLAYED with this for quite some time before we were ready to proceed with the mixing and sifting of the other ingredients. It was such a joy to sit back and watch him!
No fancy utensils or equipment needed here! Our Little Sous puts the best tools in the kitchen to good use–his hands. Since we had already explored flour in its solid state, the next logical step was to see what it might look like in a gaseous one. Clapping and tossing might have gotten a little bit outside of the mixing bowl, but it also helped us to see clouds of tiny particles of wheat floating in the air, too! And no matter the mess; we put it all to good use later.
To be continued . . . .
Want more insights into the educational opportunities present in meal preparation? My first book, ‘The Ultimate Guide to Cooking with Children‘ takes a closer look at the Montessori principles that guide a young child’s understanding of concrete concepts to abstract ideas. We worked with hundreds of children and their families for years at our international Montessori school in Japan to apply these educational techniques to the learning of languages, math, science, history, and so much more. Order your copy today!