Tom has been chopping down tress with the hand saw recently and Bear has been watching carefully. We gave him a small pruning saw at first to work with because he was so engaged and desperate to join in.
My mother-in-law was a bit concerned about us giving the almost-2-year-old a saw to use. It is certainly not a toy. It should not be played with. But an almost-2-year-old can do real work if he has real tools.
I am not reckless. He can't actually hurt himself with the saw. The teeth aren't sharp enough to cut him by accident. He could hurt someone else with it and he could damage our furniture with it so he is only allowed to have it when we are able to supervise him. An advantage of the pruning saw is that it locks closed so he needs to bring it to us if he wants to use it. But best of all he can really saw wood with it.
I enforce the correct use of the saw by explaining the rules and redirecting him. It is only for sawing. He mustn't knock the windows with it. He mustn't swing it around. He mustn't hit the dog with it! He isn't allowed to saw living trees. He has been happy to accept these rules if he's pointed toward something he is allowed to work on.
While I was at work and Tom was at home Bear set himself to work on this branch with Dad's big saw. He started from scratch. First he made a groove then he worked at it steadily throughout the day. He came back to it several times. Steady rhythmical strokes. Finally he cut all the way through! A piece of the branch fell to the ground! I couldn't believe my eyes. He looked at it thoughtfully there on the grass. Then he took his big saw to another little branch and started sawing again.
Bear's been working on some classic Montessori activities lately... Pegs and Tongs!
This boy's been my little laundry companion since he was a little baby and he's been interested in pegs from the beginning. Now he's finally mastered them! After countless demonstrations of how to squeeze them open he has worked out his own technique: he squeezes the peg open using his whole hand and twists his wrist awkwardly to clip the peg onto the clothes horse. Success! And what pride and satisfaction has accompanied this achievement! Now we work side by side - I process mountains of washing, he masters his own hands.
Another activity Bear is working on by himself is the tongs. He learned to operate the tongs picking up cotton wool. The cotton wool balls are so light and fluffy that the clumsiest, weakest grip is enough to move them successfully. A piece of masking tape over the ring at the end stops it from slipping down and locking the tongs closed - an easily preventable source of frustration for the little worker.
It was frustrating at first but those little yellow tongs kept calling to him - he went back to them again and again until he could fill up that cup in a few minutes just to tip them all out and start again.
Once he had perfected his grip on the tongs he invented his own extension activity. He used the tongs to move his knitted fruit piece by piece from their bowl on the shelf to the rug. Back and forth just for the fun of it. Packing away each piece of fruit carefully before moving on to another activity.
My name is Vicky I am wife to Ranger and mum to two boys - Bear (2) and Fox (8 months). Somehow I stumbled across Montessori and now my goal is to raise and educate my children with a Montessori philosophy in country NSW Australia.