October Mangrove Newsletter

What is the most popular word in the toddler classroom? What is the word that you need to become familiar with in order to be super hip and cool with your toddler?


Excuse me, what? Are you saying ‘scuffin?’ What are you talking about? What is a scuffin?

These all may be questions that you ask yourself when you hear college educated teachers and small toddlers talking about scuffins.

Scuffins are real. They are not a figment of your imagination, although the word won’t be in the dictionary. Scuffins are a food we eat in the toddler classroom based on joining the recipe of both a scone and a muffin into one delicious baked good made by the tiniest hands on campus.

Without scuffins, the toddler community at the Children’s School wouldn’t be the same. Scuffins are a staple in the diet. Scuffins are a complex lesson creates extension lessons, patience, and an opportunity for our young friends to work together to create something for the entire class to enjoy. Scuffins build our community.

It may sound silly, but it is true. Food is the universal language for our children. No matter the age or ability, food is understood. There is always food present in an authentic Montessori toddler classroom because of that understanding. There is always a lesson present during the work cycle where the children must use their hands in order to manipulate and eat food, whether it be to slice a cucumber, spread cream cheese on a bagel, or peel an orange before they eat it. They are developing their fine motor skills, while simultaneously practicing social skills pertaining to eating, fulfilling an inner need to do it independently, and of course, addressing their hunger.

Scuffins add another element to the food preparation in the classroom. The ingredients need to be poured and stirred. The batter needs to be scooped and the tin needs to be carried to the oven. A timer must be set and then we must wait. The scuffins need to cool and then be transferred to a container using tongs. The scuffins need to be carried outside to snack and then we use our manners to ask for a scuffin to eat. Oh, and if batter spills on the table or ground, we practice table scrubbing. If a cloth is covered in batter, we practice cloth washing. We also get to practice dishwashing and handwashing, all thanks to scuffins.

We also begin to learn the concept of cause and effect. If we forget to spray the muffin tin, what happens to the scuffins? They stick and aren’t very attractive. What happens when we overfill or under fill the tins? The scuffins all look different and aren’t cooled evenly. What happens when we don’t set the temperature correctly? The scuffins burn and taste different.

Pretty impressive for a tiny baked good, don’t you think? And pretty impressive for a group of toddlers, if you ask me.

If your toddler doesn’t talk about the day yet, for whatever the reason, try mentioning scuffins…. it may spark a conversation, or at least a smile!

“Learn how to cook- try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless and above all have fun.” – Julia Child ( a Montessori child)

Ms Liz and Ms Sonia