The Elementary Classroom Medical Kit

I know there is some controversy as to whether there should exist a Practical Life shelf in the Montessori Elementary classroom. Some classrooms have it and love it, while others prefer to simply embed the practical life work into the routines of every day life. Where necessary materials for self care or care of the environments are found organized as the teachers and children see fit, in closets or cupboards, dispersed throughout the classroom in some logical way however not all in any one particular location. I can’t say I disagree with either, and can see the logic for the practice of both. However, having two children of my own who are now both in Elementary School and teaching Montessori at the Casa level for over ten years I scratch my head to understand why children in the Elementary Grades are not given the freedom and the tools to independently take care of some of the minor cuts and scrapes that seem to reoccur.

The desire and responsibility for children to self care and care about others is particularly high in children long before Elementary. How often have you witnessed a child needing and pressing the teacher for attention for simple ailments like hang nails, papercuts or replacement bandaids. Why shouldn’t the children take care of these things for themselves, independently and for each other. How wonderful it would be to see children compassionately and responsibly taking care of each other’s minor ailments. Ofcourse, it would be the responsibility of the guide to educate the children on how to safely accomplish certain remedies, maintain hygienic practices and importantly not cause further injury. It would also be necessary to differentiate between what is minor and what isn’t. When necessarily the adult must be attending to the child and when the child or a classmate could handle it. For example, things like minor scratches, paper cuts, hangnails, small slivers, replacement bandaids could all be attended to by the children, with a teacher present to supervise and ensure safety is maintained. For this, we have designed a simple example of a classroom medical kit for children to use as Practical Life. The ECMK2020. The contents could be modified to fit the present needs and also satisfy any local government licensing requirements. Our Elementary Classroom Medical Kit contains the following items left to right, top to bottom as depicted in the photo.

1. Triangular Bandage (sling)
2. Magnifying glasses
3. Alcohol
4. Polysporin
5. Cotton Swabs
6. Two sizes of bandaids
7. Hand Sanitizer
8. A flashlight
9. Cuticle Scissors
10. Tweezers
11. Nail clippers
12. Porcelain tray for used equipment (to be given to the teacher to sanitize after every use)
13. Tea tree oil (back up supply)
14. Tea tree oil spray bottle (for sanitizing the table after use)
15. Cloth for wiping table (unless there is a back up supply of cloths it would be more suitable to use cut paper towels for single use that can be thrown away)
16. Box of latex free medical gloves
17. Aloe plant

(At this point it doesn’t seem at all strange that Maria Montessori saw to organize all the work in the Casa dei Bambini into all inclusive, specially designed kits) (Who invented the very first First Aid Kit?)