In any Montessori Primary classroom here at Villa di Maria, you will find a sturdy, handsome buckle frame. Part of the Practical Life curriculum, the buckle frame encourages independent dressing by mimicking the sequence and dexterity needed to buckle and unbuckle a belt or even a backpack strap. The coordination of movement that comes from buckling, then unbuckling all of the straps on the buckle frame is quite satisfying for little hands.
The activities related to care of self, such as those having to do with dressing frames, buttoning, lacing, tying bows, hand-washing, and shoe-polishing help the child to become independent, self-reliant, and self-assured. These activities also increase control of movement, attention span, and concentration.
Important to note is that each step is done in a sequence with each buckle as opposed to completing all steps with each buckle. For instance, the child will pull the strap from under the ring for each separate strap from top to bottom (as seen in the first photo) as opposed to completing the whole task with each strap separately, thus reinforcing each step and its repetitive movement as a part of the whole.
“It may be said that we acquire knowledge by using our minds; but the child absorbs knowledge directly into his psychic life. . . . Impressions do not merely enter his mind; they form it. They incarnate themselves in him. . . . We have named this type of mentality, The Absorbent Mind.”
—Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind