1. Absorbent Minds (UK), 2. Michael Olaf (US), 3. Michael Olaf (US), 4. For Small Hands (US), 5. How we Montessori Shop (Aus), 6. How we Montessori Shop (Aus), 7. Montessori Shop (NZ), 8. Montessori Paratodos (Spain).
One of the things I love about Montessori is the approach to aprons. Aprons are more than something to protect the child's clothing. Aprons are a part of the environment, they are a material, a learning tool.
By putting the apron on at the start of the activity and taking it off (and putting it away) at the end, the apron helps to define the activity. While the apron is on we are working, we are cooking/washing/flower arranging. We consider the uses of our aprons, in our home have an apron for food preparation, an apron especially for juicing, an apron (made from toweling) for washing, another for gardening/flower arranging and the children have aprons they wear for messy arts. Each apron has it's own particular use.
I have written many posts about aprons and the one thing I look for is an apron that fits and that the child, even a toddler, can put it on and take it off themselves. An apron is like a piece of clothing, wearing it, using it is an activity. The child learns to take it off the hook and methodically put it on. When the child is very young or still learning I offer as little help as possible, only giving the child as much assistance as necessary. This helps foster independence and lessens their reliance on others, promoting their sense of self. In our home we promote the helping of others as in a classroom, the older children help the younger children or the older sibling helps the younger sibling.
Temporary hooks are ideal for hanging aprons when the children are young as we gradually increase the height of the hook as the child grows. It's ideal to have a hook or a special place on the shelf for the child to store their aprons near the activity where it is used, a place where they can always find it and put it back, promoting the child's sense of order.
Although it doesn't always happen in our home, on occasion the children launder their own aprons. This gives the child something real of their own to wash, rinse and hang.