SWEEPING SQUARES

What is it?

In Montessori classrooms, you will often see a masking tape on the floor in various shapes.
We use it to make a line the children can walk on, sit on, or sometimes…sweep into!
Forget the aesthetics during the pandemic and tape some squares in your common areas. Leave them there and watch as your young sweepers learn precision!

Did you know?
A simple process of carrying out everyday tasks like sweeping provides the child with the opportunity to learn about spatial concepts and sequence of operations, and helps develop gross motor skills. When they see a purpose behind an activity, it gives them a sense of belonging, accomplishment, and service to others.

Materials

  • Child-sized broom
  • Small Broom & Dustpan
  • Small dustpan and hand brush
  • Small Cleaning Set
  • A jar of loose material to sweep such as confetti or sawdust

Removable tape to mark off an area on a hard floor

Steps

Bear with us here, the first step is to make a mess! First you sprinkle, then you sweep!

  • Bring the jar of loose material to the taped–off area. Say, “We’re going to sweep into this square.” (The taped–off square is large enough for the head of the broom).
  • Sprinkle some loose material around the square. Return the jar to the shelf.
  • Retrieve the child–sized broom. Say, “Watch while I sweep it all up.”
  • Sweep the loose material into the square with slow strokes, going all the way around the square. Shake the broom over the square and ask, “Did I miss any?”
  • Return the broom and retrieve the dustpan and hand brush.
  • On your knees, sweep the material into the dustpan. Ask again, “Did I miss any?”
  • Carry the dustpan with the brush across the front such that the material will not slide out. Brush the material out into a wastebasket. Return the dustpan and brush to storage.
  • Invite the child to try.

The Good News: After the lesson, your children will be delighted to sweep! Leave the taped squares in the living room and kitchen and add this to your child’s daily schedule or chore choices.

Questions

  • Does the child sweep all the material into the square?
  • Does she get it all into the dustpan?
  • Does she successfully sweep it into the wastebasket?
  • Does she remember to return the items to storage?

Tips

Add challenges: Try sweeping with a big broom. Have the child sweep to an imaginary target square.

Extensions: Sweep different items into the square, or have child help with sweeping after meals.