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Notes to a Montessori Parent - Use Paste and Brush Before a Glue Stick

How we Montessori toddler paste brush at two years old gluing collage tray

This is a friendly reminder that there are huge benefits to using paste and a brush before using a glue stick - especially for toddlers and preschoolers.

Montessori schools often have young children apply paste with brushes or small spreaders as opposed to glue sticks. It serves as an opportunity for the child to develop their fine motor skills and pincer grasp preparing their hand for writing.

If at home you are going to do some collage or pasting work with a young child try using paste and a brush or a little glue spreader, we don't need to set our home up like a school but this little step is useful for the child. Glue sticks may be slightly cleaner for a child to use but for a toddler they can be cumbersome, the glue stick can easy tear paper and a for a child who likes to explore they are easy to pull all the way out and destroy. 

The young child has greater control over a small brush or paste spreader, they can easily determine how much glue to apply - a lot or a little (or to experiment to determine how much paste they need) and it's easy for the child to see the paste. Glue from a glue stick can dry quickly but paste allows a child to feel the pasting and sticking process, the child can take their time to stick and unstick their collage, which toddlers likes to do, it's all part of the learning process.

How we Montessori toddler paste brush at two years old gluing collage tray

I put paste in a small jar, so if my child uses it all it doesn't make too much mess and isn't wasteful, we (at 2.5years) are pasting on a melamine tray (A4 size) which makes clean up really easy. I also like to use heavier weight paper or card including recycled/reuse cardboard from boxes or Reverse Garbage as a base so it doesn't get soggy if too much paste is used.

I've also considered putting a runny glue/adhesive (not paste) into a small re-useable squeeze bottle, but I'll wait until my toddler is a little older.

We were using a gluing box but have simplified for now. This is what today's tray looks like. 

Kylie's circle pasting tray at How we Montessori

Our tray has a small brush but today we also used a small paste spreader (usually around 10-12cms), a small jar of paste, circles for pasting (I used a large hole punch to cut the circles out of coloured card) and some heavy card to paste onto from Reverse Garbage. 

We've been using a range of papers for pasting including:

  • paper of different weights
  • kite paper - thin but very colourful
  • rice paper - beautiful quality and unique texture
  • different colours OR the same colour in different shades
  • same shapes like all circles or all triangles.
  • cut outs from shaped/novelty hole punches
  • metallic paper

For the backing paper/card we have been using: 

  • paper of different sizes and shapes - why not try collage on round card
  • heavier weight paper and card - to support all the glue and collage items
  • paper and card of different colours including black 
  • textured paper
  • recycled card from cartons and from our recycling box
  • card and paper from Reverse Garbage

Pasting tools at hwm

Resources we use: Glue Brush (around 10cm long - this is small but I love it for toddlers!!) / Paste Spreader (AU link)(similar US here)/ Tray (AU link).

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