We have had so much success with our homeschool version of the Montessori dressing frames. Z (2.5) has already learned to zip, and now to buckle.
I should note that we are not following the proper sequence of the Montessori dressing frames. By the time we get to zips and buckles, he should have already mastered or at least still practising the velcro, snaps and buttons. He is still working on velcro, but he is not in the least bit interested in buttons. Snaps frustrate him because he doesn’t have enough finger strength yet, so he’s not keen to keep working on that.
Despite breaking the Montessori rules here, I feel that we are doing the right thing by going out of sequence. Follow the child, observe where he is interested, and just let him have a go at it. His success at zipping has fuelled such a passionate insistence on zipping his own winter jacket these days.
Back to the topic at hand, I wanted to reiterate how well the little chair is working as a dressing frame.
Since I found a child-sized vest and draped it over the back of the chair for Z to practice, and saw how well it worked, I have been digging out all of his old clothes to see what else I could find.
For our buckle activity, I found this old harness that once belonged to M (now 8). It’s handy to keep your child on a leash (literally), but with Montessori and its method of parenting, I find that I didn’t need to use the leash on Z. In fact, I found the outcome to be worse when I used it twice before.
I have to help him drape the monkey over the chair, and then he takes over willingly. Buckling and unbuckling, over and over again, until he feels satisfied. I love how he always has this loud, dramatic sigh of success when he is done with his work.
Sometimes I’ll suggest that he practice it on himself. It’s a bit tight on him (because I had to tighten the straps for a better fit on the chair), and you can see how it’s more challenging when he has to work on it on his own body. Look at his determination!