I’m studying for my Communications class and don’t understand how to answer this. Can you help me study?

Last week you had a big cleaning day in your program. The children took their chairs and toys outside and scrubbed them down with soapy water and brushes. Today a dad came in with a complaint that he does not pay tuition for his children to do your cleaning. Basing your response on Montessori’s ideas about real jobs and responsibility, what would you say?

Then respond to the following:

As you observe children scrubbing toys and chairs, what would give you clues that they are learning? Include all kinds of learning, not just mathematics and literacy (although you can certainly discuss those too).

1. My response to the father would be- “children want to partake in taking care of themselves and their environment. Montessori believed that if the child is capable of a task, giving them the opportunity to do so will help increase their competence. Also, allowing children to take responsibility will aide in building their self-esteem because children have a great interest in real work. They always want to “help”.”

Observing students completing their task to scrub their toys and chairs, an indicator for me that they are learning would be the child’s focus on the activity and the engagement in helping each other complete the task. For example, if I see a student is taking their time, I know they are focused and want to do their best. If I see a student rushing, screaming “I’m done!!!!” I will probably believe they are uninterested in the idea of learning to clean and find another developmentally appropriate activity for them to engage in, perhaps even assisting their peers in putting items away where they belong.

2. This actually happened at one of the classes at our center a couple of years ago. A parent called me to file a complaint against a teacher because she had made the students clean their desks after they did a painting activity. The children actually loved the idea of cleaning up themselves with sponges and it directly relates to Montessori’s concept of offering children a key to guide their exploration of the world (pg 41). My response to the parent back then was that it was part of the curriculum and that the teachers were there to guide the children to be independent and learn about the environment around them which is not to far off from what I would respond with now having more knowledge on Montessori’s “Beauty and Order” concept. Parents often feel they should not burden children with chores such as cleaning up and this does not prepare them for the world. If this would’ve happened now, I probably would have responded the same way but I would have added that engaging the child in real-life work like cleaning, is beneficial and enhances the child’s self-esteem as it makes them feel proud. It also allows them to be independent and gives them responsibility.