Sunday, March 15, 2009

Two New Practical Life Lessons

Practical life is buzzing. The children are very excited about the new works out. Both of these required skills learned from earlier works - using a sponge, cutting, using toothpicks, using a mortar and pestle, etc.

The first one is banana slicing. Many classrooms probably have banana slicing available and may even add the last ingredient: graham cracker crumbs. We put out a tray of banana pieces which have a small slit cut on one side to make it easier for the child to pull off the skin. The child first uses a mortar and pestle to ground a graham cracker cookie into crumbs. They then pour the cookie crumbs into the small bowl that has been provided. Next, they take the segment of banana and cut it into slices. Using a toothpick, the child places the piece of banana into the bowl of cookie crumbs. Next, using a small spoon, they cover the banana piece with cookie crumbs. They continue until all the pieces of banana have been covered with crumbs. Now, the most exciting thing, they eat them. Total yum !!!!

(PS. Noah was cold after coming in from the playground so he kept his hat on...) ____

The second work is an extension of an earlier lesson - grinding salt. Initially, and it still is, the grinding salt work was used for the cleaning copper tray. Now, a child may choose to add spices to their salt before grinding to make seasoned salts. I found a great four-jar spice rack that I put in the practical life area. I currently only have three spices - rosemary, basil and whole nutmeg. The nutmeg is not used with the salt work.

A child uses a small measuring spoon to place either rosemary or basil, or both, into their salt bowl. Using a mortar and pestle they grind the salt and herbs together. The smell is wonderful. We also have dried some orange peel and these have been grated and added to the salt combination. After a child has done a good job grinding the salt and herbs together, they use a small funnel to pour the mixture into a cloth, tea bag found at all-natural food stores. They pull the string on the bag and then place the bag into a baggy and bring it home to be used in family recipes.

The above tray holds the graters, spoon, sponge, funnel, etc., for the seasoned salt work.

The children seem very interested in the spice rack. It is something that I am sure they have seen, however much larger and with more spices, at home but may not have had the opportunity to use. I am adding thyme and bay leaf next week. Too, I will be putting out on the snack table olive oil and pieces of Italian bread for dipping into the various seasoned salts.

Also, we will plant our own herb plants soon and hope to have the children scratch and match the plants (via leaf sniffing...) to the dried herbs before drying their own. Leaf identification is another good lesson to throw in. I am getting excited.

My next Practical Life lesson will be pitting olives...oh I can't wait.

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