A musical video that develops self- confidence in children from 2 to 6, using the methods of the renowned Maria Montessori, is now reaching the marketplace. It is titled "Preschool Power! Jacket Flips and Other Tips" ($14.95).
Made at the Montessori Children's Center of Winston-Salem, N.C., it was produced by Concept Associates with offices there and in Bethesda, Md.
"Preschool Power!," named one of the year's 25 best videos for children by Parents' Magazine, is not due for mass distribution until early next year, but phone orders can be placed by calling 1-800-333-8252.
More than 80 years ago, Maria Montessori found that young children can learn more and satisfy their large appetite for knowledge if allowed to do things at their pace and in their fashion.
In recent decades, the number of Montessori schools in the United States has skyrocketed as parents marveled at how well a child can do, given specially designed materials and allowed to proceed, with minimal guidance, on his or her own.
This video has no teaching or preaching adults. The cast is made up of nine children, 2 to 6 years old (except for a muffin-baking scene, where an adult puts the muffins in the oven). The children do things their way to the accompaniment of 10 lively, original songs.
For 30 minutes, the children learn to perform a number of playful activities from songs and performances that they are encouraged to try.
They go through buttoning, zippering and buckling tasks as well as pouring, cleaning up spills, flipping on jackets, washing their hands properly and making snacks.
Carrey Sutton, the executive producer, chief writer and lyricist, has a daughter in the cast.
"Parents just don't realize how much little kids can do," she said. "Or just how good they feel about pouring a glass of water or juice, instead of having to wait for Mom to get off the phone."
The video also includes some safety tips and some fun breaks. At times, Sutton makes learning so much fun that parents and grandparents may have a difficult time separating the two. When the tots start flipping on their jackets, the old folks just might want to give it a try.