Duralex Drinking Glass
It took me quite some time to list our first Drinking Glass here on Montessori Child. This was due to my commitment to ensuring that I had first found my ideal version of a tool that is incredibly important but also available in an almost overwhelming array of variations! There are lots of reasons that I finally chose this particular glass and that is what I'll discuss here.
This beautifully crafted glass - made in France as part of the Provence range - is extremely aesthetically attractive! Its shape and panelled sides make it quite beautiful to look at. It feels similarly pleasing to touch, with smooth sides that delight the hands and lips alike!
Our Standard size tumbler has a height of 8cm with a top diameter of 6.4cm and a volume of approximately 130ml. I find this glass to be the perfect size for toddlers and Pre-schoolers. It is important that a glass for this age group is small enough to be handled effectively, but it must also have enough volume to offer a satisfying and refreshing drink! This glass walks that line perfectly. It can be confidently carried by even the smallest hands but still holds an appropriately refreshing volume of water (or other liquid).
For younger toddlers the Small size holds 90ml and is 7cm tall with a top diameter of 5.5cm.
For older pre-schoolers or young primary schoolers the Large size holds 220ml and is 9cm tall with a top diameter of 7.5cm.
The Standard size is perfect for this two year old. Shown here with our 250ml Glass Jug.
Since the Duralex Glass is tempered (see 'Quality' below for more details) the glass can withstand extreme temperatures without chipping or cracking. It is therefore dishwasher safe but also microwave and freezer safe.
Its resistance to heat also gives the Glass a 'second life' if being used at home (rather than a classroom). When a child eventually outgrows a glass of this size the glass can be used as an espresso glass for mum or dad!
The shape of the Duralex Drinking Glass also allows it to be effectively stacked. This is useful for storage - particularly if space is limited.
Quality of the glass
Being 'Duralex' the glass itself has been 'tempered'. This is the name of the technical process of strengthening the glass with controlled thermal treatments. It makes the glass itself tougher - Duralex glass is calculated as being 2.5 times stronger than ordinary glass. This increased toughness makes it more durable as the glass has increased resistance to shock, impact and extreme temperatures. It is less likely to chip and more likely to have a long lifespan.
The quality of the glass itself means that this is not the most inexpensive tumbler you can find - there are certainly much cheaper glasses available. In fact, for many years I was using a cheaper type of glass in my own Pre-school (which was available from a large chain store, that shall remain nameless here, for around $4 for a pack of 6). However, over the course of their use I came to realise that this initially 'cheap' cost actually resulted in a higher expenditure over the long-term as they are less durable and therefore break more easily and need to be replaced more frequently. This cheaper, less sturdy glass was also very prone to chipping easily (such as when bumped against the base of the sink while being washed) particularly around the top edge. It therefore required a lot of 'policing' by an adult to constantly check the glasses to make sure that there weren't tiny but potentially dangerous chips. For me personally I find that it is worth investing a little more in the initial cost of a glass to know that it will last longer and require less constant inspection.
If the glass does break then it is designed to shatter into small pieces. Most glass will simply break into large pieces - exposing large pointed shards - but Duralex glass is designed to break into small, less dangerous pieces.
Despite the quality of the type of glass it is, after all, still breakable! It is more likely to survive little impacts but rough handling, or drops from a height, will result in it breaking. This is no accident - the principle of using breakable materials is not only intentional but very valuable in the Montessori environment. In our modern world many children interact primarily with plastic - and so it is no wonder that they start to believe that they can be rough or irresponsible without consequence! When a child handles a breakable material (such as this glass) he or she is able to feel a sense of responsibility for this fragile, beautiful object. If cracks or breakages occur then it is time to discard the object - and you can invite the child to be part of this process (for instance by observing you wrapping it in newspaper before placing it in the bin) to demonstrate the real, natural consequence of misuse. Please remember that it is not appropriate to shame or scold a child for a breakage - it is an expected part of the learning process. Instead please just be calm and factual about assessing the situation (ie. "The glass is now broken, so it's no longer safe to use, we will need to wrap it up so we can safely throw away the pieces") so the child can self-correct.
For more information about how to supervise and scaffold experiences to protect the safety of the child please read our Safety Advice.
Duralex glass is known for being particularly 'nonpourous'. This means that the liquids contained inside are less able to absorb or 'leach' into the glass itself. This applies to 'drinks' contained within but also to chemicals that may be found in dishwashing detergents or powders. The use of such a nonporous vessel improves the level of hygiene as it reduces the risk of tiny particles being trapped and transferred from use to use (or from user to user!). It is important to note that it is not unique for a glass to be nonporous - all glass itself is nonporous in the sense that the water obviously doesn't absorb through it. However even 'clean' glasses can still contain trapped microscopic particles (this is why you wouldn't have a drink of water from a chemistry lab's test tube even if it had been washed!). Plastic cups are also known for absorbing particles - and for leaching them back into the liquid contained - and this can have health and hygiene implications. Exceptionally smooth glassware, such as the Duralex Drinking Glass, is as close as you can really get (at present) to knowing that what has been in the glass is no longer attached to it after washing.
The Duralex Glass is dishwasher safe and therefore able to be washed at the high temperatures required to maintain a level of appropriate hygiene (which is particularly pertinent in classroom/childcare environments).
The Duralex Drinking Glass can be perfectly accompanied by our 250ml Glass Jug