The Dressing Frames are tools you can find in the Montessori classroom that help children master the skills required to dress themselves. But what are they, exactly, and what are their purpose? We’d like to explain a bit more about this classic material, and give you ideas to incorporate this skill-building technique at home!
For a child who is still working on their fine motor control and manual dexterity, buttoning buttons and zipping zippers can be a challenge! The Dressing Frames include all types of closures you might find on clothing, stretched onto a sturdy wooden frame. For example: Small Buttons, Large Buttons, Zippers, Snaps, Velcro, Lacing, Tying, and Hooks. In the photo above, you can see an example of a closure you typically find on a bicycle helmet.
How can you do this at home? You might not have materials or toys for isolated practice like in the classroom, but you certainly have clothes to practice on! Pick out a few articles of clothing with big buttons, easy zippers, or unique closures that your child might find interesting.
There are two ways to go about the actual practice: Your child can practice on themselves, which can be difficult depending on the type of material, or they can practice on you. Alternatively, try hanging a sweater or jacket on a doorknob! Decide what works best for your family, then get to work!
Watch your child carefully. Are they getting frustrated when trying to start the zipper? Try to give them ONLY enough help to keep them from giving up. Perhaps get the zipper started for them, but then let them pull it all the way up. This way, they don’t feel abandoned in their efforts, but also have a sense of accomplishment that will give them the inner drive to try again.
The Dressing Frames from the Montessori classroom are a great example of children practicing very real tasks that help them feel independent and confident. Support your child’s growing skills at home!
Do you have any tried and true methods for dressing and undressing? Share them!
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