March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day, and people everywhere enjoy this celebration of leprechauns, shamrocks, rainbows, and all things Irish. This is a great time to talk about Ireland's geography and culture. It is also a reason to incorporate some fun, St. Patrick's Day themes into your Montessori practical life activities.
Cooking is one of my family's favorite practical life activities. First of all, it’s fun! My children love to cook, and, of course, we all love to eat! Cooking is also a great way to develop small motor skills (chopping, using utensils, etc.,) sequencing (following the steps in order,) math (measuring, fractions) reading skills, and more. Cooking also builds confidence and independence. According to Maria Montessori, practical life exercises are essential learning avenues for all children.
take part in the exercises of practical life . This has a truly educational, not utilitarian purpose. The reaction of the children may be described as a “burst of independence” of all unnecessary assistance that suppresses their activity and prevents them from demonstrating their own capacities. It is just these “independent” children of ours who learn to write at the age of four and a half years, who learn to read spontaneously, and who amaze everyone by their progress in arithmetic. (Dr. Maria Montessori, Childhood to Adolescence)
With Saint Patrick's Day just around the corner, my children and I agreed on this traditional recipe for Irish Scones.
What you’ll need:
- 2 cups flour
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 4 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1/2 cup to 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 350F. Mix flour, white sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, and baking power in a large bowl.
Cut in butter with a pastry blender. Mix well.
Gradually add buttermilk, mixing with your hands. Stop when it is just moist enough to form a soft dough.
Separate dough into two balls. Place on a sheet of wax or parchment paper. Press into circles about 1 inch thick.
Cut each circle into six wedges. (Now is when you might talk about fractions!)
Brush tops of scones with buttermilk and sprinkle with white sugar.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, until lightly golden.