“The environment must be rich in motives which lend interest to activity and invite the child to conduct his own experiences.” -Maria Montessori
Recently the toddlers have been busy having picnics in the classroom. This little picnic activity has been very enticing for friends over the last week. The children have multiple opportunities to use vocabulary and practice social skills. In the classroom we have observed children relive scenes from their own lives at home. Baby dolls may arrive at the table and we see children taking care of their babies, or pretending to feed each other.
Sorting and organizing objects is also going on during this kind of play. Most of the objects on the table are food. These objects can be sorted by size, shape and color. Pretend play also promotes problem solving skills. Sharing, taking turns and building are skills that we observe friends practicing.
Pretend play is not a traditional Montessori lesson but has continued to be a valuable experience for the toddlers. The children are given the opportunity to create their own play and invent their own outcomes. The table could be in a home or out at a restaurant. The teachers in the classroom also have the chance to observe where a child’s imagination will lead the play.