Montessori learners start the week with many new lessons and materials to choose from on the shelves. One of their favorites has been tea making.
In one of our conversations about fall, the learners shared the observation that it starts to get colder outside. When asked about ways they keep warm as the weather gets colder, they gave answers such as “I wear a coat or sweater”; “I use hats, gloves, and scarves”; “I snuggle under a blanket”; and “I drink hot chocolate or tea.” While many of the learners said they had tasted tea before, several shared that they had never tried it.
The tea-making lesson is part of our Practical Life curriculum. Each learner is able to independently and safely brew a cup of warm tea to either drink him- or herself or to offer to a friend. The process takes many steps and promotes concentration, focus, sequencing, and memory.
The learner starts by putting one mug and one tea bag (we are currently using a caffeine-free apple cinnamon tea) on the work tray, which already holds a kettle, a two-minute sand timer, a pitcher, and a set of tongs. The learner then takes the pitcher to our hot water source and fills it with warm water. He/she then pours the water into the kettle and carefully adds the tea bag with the tongs. The learner lets the tea steep for two minutes, using the sand timer to monitor the time. After two minutes, the learner uses the tongs to carefully remove the tea bag and then pours the tea into the mug to drink. After finishing the tea, the learner puts the mug in the dishwashing station, throws away the tea bag, and cleans up any spills before returning the tray to the shelf for the next friend to use.
Comments from the learners about this work include, “this tea smells so good”; “I didn’t know I liked tea, but I do!” and “this tea makes me feel warm and cozy.”