Sunday, November 6, 2011

Potato Mashing Makes A Smash Hit

Our new Practical Life work - Potato Mashing or Mashed Potato Making - is a smash hit. I have one of my assistants boil a few potatoes with the skins on and place them in a bowl in the morning. The other two ingredients are butter and milk. Oh, and they may add salt and pepper, after the potatoes are mashed, as they please. I have to say that my younger students devour their own good work. Actually, they share their potato work with one other student, so they both clean their bowls.

Left to Right - a small white bowl containing four tablespoons of butter with the paper wrapper still on (the tablespoons are separated by knife markings made by my morning assistant), a bowl of boiled potatoes, a circular tray that has several items placed on it. There is a medium sized white bowl for a child to place within it one large piece of boiled potato. Sitting within the medium bowl, for balancing while carrying purposes, is a small container of cold milk. Also on the tray is a child-sized potato masher, a tablespoon, a serving spoon and two small bowls to serve the mashed potatoes in. Note that the child places the round tray on her working table, removes all of the items, returns the tray to the shelf, takes the medium white bowl to get both a piece of potato and a tablespoon of butter which she then warms up in the microwave independently (we have a 30 second button highlighted for the children to use to warm up food) and then takes to her table. Next she pours the milk into a one tablespoon measuring spoon and adds that to the potato and butter. Finally, the mashing begins.

Here an almost three year old mashes her potato:

As it is somewhat physically challenging for her to push down the potato masher while sitting, she chooses to use her body weight and stands to complete her work:

A second child mashes potatoes. I am very interested in her wrist rotation, which she used to move the potato masher around the bottom of the bowl. I am asking myself where else a child uses that type of muscular wrist movement.

Oh yeah! The pleasure of eating your own good work and of sharing that work with a friend!

1 comment:

Deb Chitwood said...

I love how independent the children are with this activity ... what a great food preparation experience! I featured your post and photo in my Montessori-Inspired Vegetable Unit at