Montessori Dressing Frames are a practical life material designed to teach young children the essential skills needed for dressing and undressing independently. They are typically introduced around the age of 2.5 to 3 years old when children's fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and sense of independence are developing.
Characteristics of dressing frames:
Variety of fasteners: Dressing frames typically include a range of fasteners, such as velcro, buttons, zippers, buckles, snaps, laces, etc., to provide children with a diverse range of experiences and challenges. Each dressing frame has only one type of fastener in order to isolate the difficulty.
Durable material: Dressing frames are usually made of sturdy materials, like wood and fabric, to withstand repeated use and manipulation by young children.
Sized for small hands: The frames and fasteners are designed to be appropriate for the size and strength of young children's hands, ensuring they can successfully practice the skills.
How to present dressing frames:
Choose an appropriate frame: Start with a dressing frame that features a fastener the child is already familiar with or one that matches their current developmental stage.
Presentation: Analyse the movement before presenting the dressing frame. Slowly and deliberately demonstrate how to use the fastener, breaking down the process into small, manageable steps while maintaining a sense of order. For example, when demonstrating how to use a button frame, show the child how to hold the fabric with one hand and manipulate the button with the other hand. Allow the child to observe your actions closely.
Invite the child to try: After the presentation, invite the child to practice using the dressing frame. Encourage them to take their time and work through the process at their own pace.
Provide guidance as needed: Offer support and gentle guidance if the child encounters difficulties but allow them to problem-solve and discover solutions independently whenever possible.
Observe: Observe the child's progress with the dressing frame, and adjust the level of challenge or introduce new frames with different fasteners as their skills develop.