Have you read our practical life lesson on juicing an orange?
While that post takes you through the steps of presenting orange juicing, from set-up to clean-up, I wanted to give you a peek behind the scenes today, and share our personal experience with making orange juice in the kids kitchen.
Montessori invitations should isolate new skills, but if your child already has learned how to cut fruit and pour liquids, this practical life work is perfect, as it just adds the extra dimension of juicing. If your family is not a fan of pulp, you can add in a mesh strainer.
I quickly showed Ella the safe way to go through the steps of juicing, and left her to it. Even though I showed her to keep one hand on the juicer while squeezing the orange with the other hand, she still tried to juice her orange with one hand. I casually mentioned that the juicer could slip and break, and left it up to her whether she corrected her technique, as this is her juicer.
(To prevent that risk, you can alternatively put the juicer on a slip-resistant mat.)
It can be really hard to step back and allow your child to make the mistake of breaking a material, but sometimes this is the best way to learn the consequences of our actions.
If you don’t feel like that is an option for you, you can impose consequences such as taking away the juicer after having given a warning, or imposing a five minute break to encourage your child to reconsider how they are using their materials. It’s also important to recognize if your child is purposefully “testing” by not using the materials properly, if they are being a bit absent-minded, or if they are simply not ready for this work. With Ella, I often feel like she tests to see what the consequence will be, and when that is occurring I try to be consistent in my response.
Ella originally tried juicing in a sequential way (“line work”), but eventually she cut up all of the oranges at once and then focused on juicing them all at once (“batch method”). Both methods are great, but I love that she felt the freedom to develop a system that worked better for her. As long as a “shortcut” or new method doesn’t compromise the skills, quality, or safety of an activity, I would go with the flow.
If you notice that your child is skipping a step, try to avoid the urge to correct. Allow them to notice or ask questions that will allow them to see the necessity of the missed step – and if there is no necessity to the step, perhaps it shouldn’t have been included in the activity to begin with.
A 3lb bag of oranges gave us 1 litre (a third of a gallon or two pints) of orange juice, so this invitation would be great shared amongst a few children — sharing different tasks or alternating with the tools — and there would still be plenty of juice for everyone.
Keep your juice covered in the fridge and enjoy for three days for maximum freshness. We used our child-sized glass pitcher with lid from Montessori Services.
What do you think? Would you make some orange juice with your little chef?