Mini Ceramic Vase
The Mini Ceramic Vase measures approximately 7cm. They are really tiny and are therefore appropriate for use by young children (toddlers / young pre-schoolers) or for older children who are working with flowers with short stems. The attractive coloured aesthetic provides a point of interest to invite the child towards the material.
The use of opaque ceramic vases is ideal for advanced-level work because the child can no longer see through the sides to observe the water level as they fill the vase. It can ideally be introduced after a child has mastered the task of filling a transparent vase (where the water level can be easily observed). It adds a challenge to the exercise as the child must now rely upon their perception of liquid volume to estimate the amount of water required to fill the vase (with the self-correction of peeking in the top).
Small vases, such as the Mini Ceramic Vase, also facilitate the arrangement of herbs and leaves. Placing greenery in a small vase is a great way of adding an element of nature to a room when flowers are not immediately available. The Mini Ceramic Vase is so tiny that it looks lovely with even just a few leaves artfully arranged - or the stem of some fragrant herbs. Bringing herbs into the indoor environment is a great way to encourage the sense of smell. Arranging leaves is a lovely way of introducing the study of concepts such as the anatomy of the leaf (blade, stem, veins etc). It can also leads towards artistic activities such as leaf rubbing.
Flower arranging is a beautiful, engaging and physically challenging experience for children. It evokes a sense of artistic creativity while also exercising fine motor control. It also helps to bring the child into harmony with nature, building a bond between the child and each beautiful flower.
Short, vases with a wider base (such as the Mini Ceramic Vases) are preferable for early flower arranging for several reasons;
- They have a lower centre of gravity and are therefore more likely to remain upright and balanced while the child engages in arranging the display
- The shorter height suits the reality that most young children will (at least initially) be more successful when manipulating shorter stems to create the arrangement
- The sturdy, well-balanced shapes are preferable for placing in the prepared environment because they are less likely to be knocked over / spilled (compared to tall, thin vases which topple more easily)
- If the vase is knocked over the volume of water is manageable so the child is able to independently self-correct the spill
Each Mini Ceramic Vase is attractive enough to act as a standalone showpiece but they also look beautiful grouped together. A set of two or more can be arranged on a windowsill or table to create a centrepiece or can be spread out around the room to create a sense of aesthetic harmony.
The Mini Ceramic Vase is (as the name suggests!) made of ceramic. The use of fragile materials in Montessori is a deliberate choice designed to provide natural, environmental motivation for the child to handle the resources with care and respect. This does contain an inherent risk relating to breakage. We therefore ask you to consider your plans for presentation, safety measures and supervision prior to introducing glass materials to your home or classroom (please feel free to view our Safety Suggestions for ideas).
The Flower Arranging activity generally includes the following materials:
- Basket (for collecting flowers)
- Scissors (for separating flowers from plants)
- Sponge & bowl and/or small towel (to mop up drips/spills)
The Flower Arranging work should ideally consist of the following steps:
- The child collects a basket and scissors from the shelf
- The child takes the basket and scissors into the garden to begin choosing flowers.
At this point the adult should demonstrate how to select only flowers that are already close to full bloom. This allows the child to pick flowers that are at their most aesthetically appealing while also protecting the life cycle and longevity of the plant by ensuring that the child does not excessively prune the plant.
- The child carefully snips the end of the stem to separate the flower from the plant.
At this point the adult can highlight that it is appropriate to snip quite low on the stem, far away from the flower itself, as the stems will be further trimmed at a later point.
Each flower stem is placed in the basket. When sufficient flowers have been collected the child returns to the work space (this can be outside or indoors).
The adult can limit the breadth of the activity by giving the child a 'target' number of flowers prior to the collection - for instance, suggesting that the child collects "5 flowers" and then counting along as each stem is snipped. This is particularly useful if the garden is limited.
- The child spreads out newspaper on the workspace and places the flowers on top.
- The child uses the scissors, and the fingertips, to remove excess leaves from the stems and trim them to the appropriate length
At this point the adult can show the child how to measure the stem against the vase. This can be done by using a ruler to measure the vase and then choosing a number a few centimetres along to measure against the stems OR by simply placing the vase itself beside each stem to trim them.
- As each stem is cleaned and trimmed it can be placed back in the basket. When all the stems have been prepared the newspaper should be left with only the unwanted leaves/pieces of stems and the child can place it in the appropriate receptacle(s) of the compost or recycling bins OR these leaves can be set aside for use with parallel activities (see * below).
- When the stems are prepared the child can fill the vase by filling a small jug with water and pouring this into the vase (using the funnel if required). Using a piece of styrofoam / floral foam in the base of the vase is optional (and is better suited to more advanced, elaborate floral arrangements).
- When the vase is full the child can carefully arrange each stem to create an attractive arrangement.
At this point the adult can draw attention to the concepts such as colour and balance which will improve the appearance of the arrangement.
- When the arrangement is complete the child carefully carries the vase and places it in an appropriate location in the environment.
- The child then either engages in repetition of the activity (with other flowers/vases) or proceeds to the final stage of cleaning up the work space.
*The Flower Arranging activity can happen parallel to the Anatomy of the Flower work. This ensures that the unwanted pieces (stems/leaves etc) are able to be reused effectively. Other activities - such as making crayon rubbings of the leaves - can also accompany the Flower Arranging to make good use of all of the resources.