Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Nutmeg Grating + Practical Life with the Elderly

This is the nutmeg grating tray that I prepared for seniors to use at the Bridge. I purposely chose a large, yet beautiful, grater for their hand size. Three particular seniors were on my mind when I put the tray together, believing that they would immediately be drawn to the work. However, I think most will find it an enjoyable activity.

I placed the prepared tray on the shelf and then approached one of the three seniors I mentioned above and asked them if they would like to use a new material. They stated that they would. I invited them to follow me to the back room where I showed them the nutmeg tray. I asked that they remove the tray from the shelf and bring it to a table nearby to do the work.  A bib apron was included with the tray and the senior put that on soon after they were seated. Also, a red paper place-mat was placed before them on the table to designate a work space, such as an underlay does in the Primary classroom.

Next, I invited the senior to remove all of the items from the tray. As mobility is a big factor in elder care, I returned the tray to the shelf myself.

So as to familiarize the senior with the materials on the tray, I asked him to carefully rub his fingers across the grater. He said he had never felt anything like that and, too, he had no prior experience using a grater.

Next, I asked him to remove the lid from the shaker and to insert the funnel into it. He did. Then, I asked him to take one of the whole nutmegs from the small corked jar and to rub it across the grater.

After he had done this two or three times, I asked him to smell the nutmeg and to tell me if the scent reminded him of anything. He answered that it smelled like eggnog. I agreed that it did.

He then returned to grating the nutmeg. He was very focused on the work and worked silently.

When he had grated a small amount into a powder, I showed him how to use the brush I had purchased for this work.

He then lifted the grater over the funnel, swept the nutmeg powder into it and into the shaker.

He continued to work with the materials for about fifteen minutes and then announced, as he usually does, that he was done. He capped the shaker and returned all of the materials to the tray.

He then rose from the table with the nutmeg tray in hand and returned it to its correct place on the shelf.

Last year, when I was flying from Juneau to Fort Worth for the 2012 AMI Refresher Course, I sat next to a man about 30 years old. I told him I was a Montessori teacher. He quickly responded that he had gone to Montessori school till he was 6. He followed this statement with an immediate question, "Do your students do nutmeg grating?" "Yes," I answered. He continued,"I have such great memories of doing that work and bringing it home in a baggie for my mother. I remember all these little bags of nutmeg piled up on her kitchen counter. Gosh, I wish I could still do that work!"

I am happy to say that nutmeg grating is a work for those of all ages. It is now available at the Bridge!

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