Material Spotlight: Dressing Frames

Material Spotlight: Dressing Frames

Introducing the Dressing Frames

The Dressing Frame is a key Montessori Practical Life material which helps children to develop independence and care of self as they learn to fasten different clothing implements.

The material is comprised of a wooden tower, which supports 3 different ‘frames’ on each of it’s four sides. These frames hold material and different types of fasteners which children may encounter while dressing. They include:

  • Zipping Frame
  • Bow Frame
  • Large Buttoning Frame
  • Small Buttoning Frame
  • Lacing Frame
  • Velcro Frame
  • Buckling Frame
  • Hook and Eye Frame
  • Snapping Frame
  • Safety Pin Frame

Purpose

The Dressing Frames primary purpose is to teach children how to dress themselves through mastering different clothing fasteners. This process also tests a child’s hand eye coordination and fine motor skills, as they work with each material.

Children are first introduced to the Large Buttoning Frame and Zip Frame from the age of two, and as their skill level builds they are challenged with harder implements.

Presentation: The Large Buttoning Frame

  • Invite the child to come work with you, and guide them to the Practical Life curriculum area.
  • Identify the Dressing Frame and select the Large Buttoning Frame.
  • Bring the frame to a table and introduce the frame by saying ‘This is the Large Buttoning Frame’.
  • Tell the child that you will be showing them how to unbutton and button.
  • Begin with unbuttoning by pinching the top button with one hand and the material on the other side with your opposing hand.
  • Pull the material to create a hole, tilt the button down, and then slide it through the hole.
  • Show the child that the button is now free from the material.
  • Repeat this process on the following buttons in order, working slowly to allow the child to watch each step.
  • Next, working from the top, pinch the button and material on the other side.
  • Slide the button halfway through the hole, then re-adjust your grip on the button to pinch the side of the button which is coming through the hole.
  • Pull the button until it is through the hole.
  • Repeat this process for the following buttons in order, working slowly to allow the child to watch each step.
  • Once all buttons are fastened, offer the child a turn to unbutton and button the frame.

Presentation: The Zipping Frame

  • Invite the child to come work with you, and guide them to the Practical Life curriculum area.
  • Identify the Dressing Frame and select the Zipper Frame.
  • Bring the frame to a table and introduce the frame by saying ‘This is the Zipping Frame’.
  • Tell the child that you will be showing them how to zip and unzip.
  • Place a hand on one side of the frame, and pinch the zip with the other hand.
  • Pull the zipper down, working slowly to allow the child to watch the process.
  • Next, hold down the material at the bottom of the frame with one hand, and use your other hand to pull the zipper up.
  • Once complete, offer the child a turn to zip and unzip the frame.