"One must ask children and birds how cherries and strawberries taste."
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Okay, I cheated a little bit.... in general, I am a big proponent of locally grown, seasonal food, but in the midst of an unusually bleak winter it is reassuring to remember that it's always Spring somewhere.
Not surprisingly, Cherry Pitting is one of the children's favorite practical life activities, but like all Montessori activities, beneath the sticky fingers and crimson cherry stained lips lies a hidden objective. Cherry Pitting, and all food preparation activities, are considered "Care of the Self" lessons. They are designed to assist even the youngest children in acquiring good work habits (completing a sequence of activities), developing concentration and independence, and improving their coordination (using the cherry pitter strengthens their hands and requires the same movements necessary to successfully operate scissors).
Although it is not one of the classic Montessori food preparation activities, I feel confident that Maria would have heartily approved and enjoyed the sight of the children greedily stuffing their mouths with cherries.