One of the key principles of Montessori is independence. The children are working on doing things for themselves throughout the day. This involves dressing and undressing, bathrooming, being responsible for things in their cubbies, and being responsible for the works in the classroom. Serving themselves snack is a multi-step exercise in independence.
They begin by going to the snack table and checking to see if there is a snack necklace available. If there is a necklace, they put it on and ask a teacher to go in the hallway to wash their hands. Once their hands are clean, they head to the small serving table below the cups and get out a plate. They check the number in front of each bowl or tray. The numbers are anywhere from 1 through 5. The child counts out that many of an item or does that number of scoops with a measuring cup or spoon. They then carefully carry their plate to the table. They return to the serving table to find their cup hanging above. Their names are above their cup. The pitcher of water is on the snack table for them to help themselves. For many of the second year children, this routine is second nature while other children are still learning this process. The satisfaction they feel from being free to have snack when they want it and doing so without support is apparent.