Sewing Builds Creativity, Focus and Concentration in Young Children

Cultural Influences

Sewing was a familiar and practical skill in our house when I was a girl growing up in the 60’s. My paternal grandmother was a seamstress for the furrier department of Eaton’s department store; my maternal grandmother embellished linens and clothing with colourful cross-stitched needlework; my mom sewed beautiful dresses for herself and her four daughters. Today, as a teacher and a mother, I now find pleasure in passing along the art of sewing to children.

A Calming Influence

There is a peaceful, meditative state experienced in the quiet and repetitive motions that come with guiding a needle and thread through fabric. The ability to slow down and still both the body and the mind is significant and transformative for young children. For a child of three or four years old, there is a visible change in the posture and visage: soft, open and tranquil.

A Fine Art

Sewing requires precision: In the measuring, cutting, threading, knotting, and patterning. Ones hands need to be both strong and supple to manipulate the slim needle and fine thread; the development of fine motor skills assist in the refinement of movement required.

A Skill for Boys and Girls

The first attempt to thread a needle and learning how to stitch in an up and down motion can be challenging. I often find myself suppressing a chuckle when I see one of the children, their little pink tongue poking out, intently focused on trying to get the thread through the tiny hole of an embroidery needle. Persistence and perseverance allow for the practice necessary, then one day, the thread finally goes through the eye of the needle.

Accomplishment

At the moment of success with a new skill, the child’s eyes beam with pride and accomplishment. With time, sewing becomes familiar, bringing ease and joy to the process, and a new outlet for creativity has begun with another generation.

 

Here are some Montessori sewing activities you can do at home:

(in order of difficulty for ages 3 to 6)

Threading beads: shoe lace, beads

 

Lacing cards

  

 

 

 

Safety pins: felt shapes, various sizes of safety pins
 

 

File Sewing: hole puncher, clips, yarn, scissors, large blunt tapestry needle, coloured construction paper

 

Plastic Lacing: plastic lacing cut into small shapes, embroidery thread or fine yarn, small blunt needle (small enough to go through holes in plastic), scissors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Button Sewing: buttons (dollar store has various colours and sizes), embroidery hoop (4” diameter is good size), fabric squares (cut a little larger than hoop), thread, scissors, long sharp needle with large eyehole

 
 
 
 
 

Bead/Sequin Sewing: coloured felt cut into shapes, coloured beads and sequins (not too small), long sharp needle (thin enough to go through holes in beads), thread, scissors

 

 

Purse: coloured felt cut into shape desired for purse, long sharp needle (large eyehole), embroidery thread, regular thread, buttons (cut hole to fit button size), scissors, straight pins

 


Order and routine is at the very foundation of the Montessori program

Order-and-Routine-Montessori-003A couple of weeks before Thanksgiving I suggested to my family that we skip the pumpkin pie this year and make something different for dessert. Our pear tree was heavily laden and I couldn’t resist the temptation to bake a pear crumble. Well, the idea was met with groans and disappointed faces. Apparently, I was told, it is a family tradition to bake pumpkin pie and it just wouldn’t be the same without it!

It is a common practice for families to pass down rituals from generation to generation. Some are based in religion; others are treasured cultural customs.

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