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Dish Master.

Presentation:  Dish Washing

We got his preschool "Report Card" a few weeks back.
Pretty funny at first...really?  A report card?  C'mon, the kid's 3.  But typical to Montessori curriculum, documentation is an important part of charting a child's development, used as a building block for introducing future presentations and skills.
But still, he was only there 7 weeks till summer started. I'm curious....

A small key code reads:  "Presented = 1", "Practiced = 2", or "Mastered = 3".
Looking down the list, I see a few "3's"....one of which, is next to the skill:
Wha dah?

The past 2 + weeks or so, Zozie has shown an intense interest in washing dishes.  I didn't think to show him this since it seemed pretty involved for a 3 year old.  I was wondering where this intensity was being fueled and humored him by letting him splash around at times.  Little did I know, he was a "Master" dish washer at his preschool already...hahaaa!

With this new knowledge, I got to work in facilitating his new practical life skill.

Learn how to wash dishes

Set Up:
1)  Stepping Stool
2)  Soap Pump
3)  Dish Soaking Tub
4)  Dish Towel
5)  Sponge
6)  Soap Dish (To hold sponge)
7)  Small Apron

1)  Ask child to bring step stool to the sink & lay out dish towel on counter
2)  Take the sponge and hold under the soap pump
3)  With palm, push down on the pump and dispense some soap on to the sponge
4)  Pull the lever upwards to start water flow
5)  Pull out one dish from the soaking dish tub
6)  In a circular fashion, wash the surface of the dish until clean
7)  Do the same on the back side
8)  Place the sponge back into the soap dish
9)  Rinse the dish by rubbing one hand over dish
10)  Flip the dish over and repeat until all bubbles have been rinsed off
11)  Give a gentle "Shake" for excess water
12)  Place on to dish towel
13)  Repeat until all dishes are clean & dump out the excess water from the dish tub

This is just my working "pipeline" for dish washing at our house.  At school, the kids don't have access to a sink with running water for dish washing so I'm sure the presentation is alittle simpler.  Not sure if they do soap either at school.

But at our house, doing the set up for Zo to wash dishes has made it actually easier for all of us.  Seeing him struggle with squeezing the soap out of the regular container prompted me to find an old hand soap bottle with pump and transfer the soap into an easier dispenser.  The soaking bucket was elevated with a smaller plastic take-out container so it was not too far to reach for his little arms.  The step stool made it easier to reach the water faucet.  We usually just use the dishwasher as a "drying rack", but having Zo lay out a dish towel for him to place and dry dishes was much easier.
He's been setting up for mealtime, clearing dishes, and putting dishes away for a while now.  This is a nice completion of the "Dish Cycle" in his daily routine.

Master of Dishes:


  1. I miss talking Montessori w/ you! Do you guys have to nag or prompt about the routine or does he do it automatically? We find that because we're not consistent we have to nag which I don't like. Plus we're always rushing out the door to go somewhere. *le sigh*

    But now that you mention it, I do notice the desire to wash more dishes now. And more willing to do the whole routine w/o prompting.

  2. Wonderful! I like the tub idea b/c it is easier to reach and the dishes are less likely to break if dropped in the sink. Thanks!

  3. @Smurfette: No nagging, he would ask to do it, or just want to stand next to me on a stool while I do it. Sometimes I'll ask, if yes, I set him up. I think they are just naturally curious if you provide the environment so that everything is accessible.

  4. This is amazing! Do you know how many adults live their lives complaining about simple routine things like dish washing and here is our wonderful 3 year old finding joy and a great sense of accomplishments in doing this. Ultimately he'll just know that it's part of a grounded balanced existence. The key phrase you used is "next to me". It's neither pushed nor pulled but walking with. Beautiful Julie.