During parenting classes, we talk a lot about how to help our children become more independent at home. This involves a lot of observation, lots of discussion about natural and logical consequences (consequences as Adler and Dreikurs intended, NOT as punishment), and lots of sharing of ideas. One of the things I do for each class is put together a collection of slides showing what other parents have done in their homes to foster independence for their children.
The enthusiasm and creativity of parents intent on making their children more independent (and happier) never fails to amaze me. I also love that these parents are so willing to share their ideas.
With that said as an introduction, here is a photo of a wonderful kitchen space that one father made for his three year old son. The father's words follow.
"As you well know, the kids love the autonomy they can find anywhere, especially the kitchen, and the pair of them are constantly desperate to get involved. Give them a loaf of bread, butter, jam and peanut butter and they'll happily make sandwiches till the cows come home. The real incentive for this cabinet was breakfast time, and affording them the ability to prepare their own, which they love to do.
I'm quite proud to announce that not only is this a good Montessori project but also a pretty good example of recycling. I bought nothing new to make this. In fact almost everything is bits and pieces salvaged from the junk piles of local house construction sites, which are often a wonderland of cast off building supplies."
"The counter top is 'real' and therefore totally washable and durable and was also a scrap piece found onsite, big enough to jigsaw into a main counter and the small shelf. It took 6 short scraps of 2x6 wood and a 4x4 to build the cabinet, plus one scrap piece of particle board for the lower shelf and two ends of the small shelf. The green hooks are actually old knobs salvaged from a trashed chest of drawers. Add 30 screws from the toolbox, 2 sheets of sandpaper and some wood glue and it was ready to paint with a nice complimentary brown salvaged for free from the local recycling depot."
What I particularly like about the design of this piece is that it can easily be re-purposed as the child gets bigger. I should add that the older sister also has a work station but she has asked that it have doors on the front so that it looks more like the kitchen cabinets. I'll be sure to post pictures of that when the doors are installed. :)