Irish Soda Bread, Practical Life, and Montessori
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.
[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.
All you’ll need are these 4 inexpensive ingredients, and a zip-lock bag!
- 2 cups self-rising flour (Don’t have self-rising flour? No problem, just add 3 teaspoons of baking powder. (That’s 1½ teaspoons per cup of all-purpose flour.)
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- Dash of salt
- 1 cup of plain yogurt
Super Fun, Child-friendly Instructions:
Now add the yogurt to your well-mixed dry ingredients and squish, squish, squish!
This is some serious fun for little hands!
Feel free to add a cup of raisins, if you please. One of my two children does NOT DO raisins, so we are going for simplicity around here.
When the children (and you) are finished having some much-kneaded fun (sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun,) remove the dough from the bag. I recommend using well-floured hands. Shape the dough into a rough ball (it will flatten out because the dough is very soft) and place it on a cookie sheet. Score a big ole X on top, and pop it in the oven.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until light golden brown. Sooo easy, and so delicious! Our loaf disappeared in seconds.
If you are doing this project with several children, I’d suggest halving the recipe and letting each child make their own mini-loaf. Just remember to halve the baking time, too.
Let cool and enjoy! Happy St. Patrick’s Day from all of us at Age of Montessori!