Five Minutes with Melissa: BEAN POURING
We spent five minutes with Melissa Rohan, president of Waterfront Academy, learning about an important aspect of Montessori teaching methods, bean pouring.
It may seem like a simple act, pouring a material or liquid from one pitcher to another. For those children who are in school learning through Montessori methods, it is so much more.
It’s often hard as an adult to understand what a child is learning while pouring beans. They learn about the weight, pouring at different angles making the beans fall faster or slower, you name it, these are all things the child is learning in the exercise. Children are also learning sensorial things too, like hearing the beads fall.
Another interesting part of bean pouring is that it helps develop fine motor skills, hand-eye sequencing prepares children to read from left to right. All bean pouring transfers go from left to right. There are two pitchers and a set of beans. After they’re poured, the tray is moved so the beans come back to the left side and children can practice again.
There’s also grace and courtesy that comes from the practice—after they master bean pouring, children graduate to water pouring for friends at snack time. There’s a great strengthening of hands and wrists to make them strong enough to write. In a Montessori classroom, children write before they learn to read. They are often so excited to learn how to write that they don’t want to stop. If their wrists and fingers aren’t physically prepared, it’s extremely frustrating for them. They can’t keep up with the amount of writing they want to do. Bean pouring keeps up with their muscle preparation.
Dr. Montessori recognized that children love bean pouring and each time they go back and learn and pick up new things. As you can see, a lot goes into bean pouring!
- As told to Kate Oczypok