One of the main hallmarks of the Montessori Method is that it utilizes your child’s motivation to learn essential life activities at a very young age.
Practical Life is the foundation of everyday practices and routines, and it’s also one the classroom areas that doesn’t require particular tools and materials (apart from adjustments for size).
Practical Life activities are pretty much the same as the ones we partake in every day in our homes—such as washing dishes, sweeping, combing our hair, folding laundry, and getting dressed.
When children see adults doing these activities, they want to be a part of their world—they wish to feel grown-up and important—so we simply alter the materials to suit their smaller size.
How Do Practical Life Exercises Help Children?
Like other academic areas in Montessori classrooms, Practical Life is a purposeful activity that develops the child’s control and coordination. It helps them adapt to society from a young age, and helps them gain confidence, concentration, and a sense of responsibility.
What’s more, you’re teaching your child how to care of themselves and the environment, thereby giving them independence and a sense of pride in being able to do things by themselves.
How Do You Introduce Your Child To Practical Life Activities At Home?
First and foremost, the practical life area should be accessible and within reach of children at home. Have the items at the ready and be there to step in to help out when they need it.
Here are some at-home practical life ideas that you can try:
Helping with laundry—bringing items to the laundry basket, putting them in the washing machine (you can set up a step stool near the washing machine for this purpose), adding detergent.
Help with breakfast—peeling bananas, spreading crackers, setting the table. Place a container with a size-appropriate spoon, along with a small jug of milk so that kids can serve their own cereal.
Getter dressed and undressed
Help with dinner—setting up the table, washing up at the sink, adding vegetables to a salad.
Getting ready for visitors—changing the towels, making the beds, tidying away toys
When you’re incorporating Practical Life exercises at home, remember that it’s meant to be fun, so keep encouraging your child and praising their achievements—both great and small!
Gradually add more steps to the activities. As children gain mastery, they graduate from pouring liquids to putting on an apron, squeezing orange juice, and even pouring tea for their friends at the table.
The Montessori classrooms in our child care center in Chalfont, Pennsylvania, not only set children up for academic success, but they also train students in four main areas of Practical Life: grace and courtesy, control of movement, care of self, and care of the environment.
If you’re located in the Chalfont, Quakertown, Perkasie, New Britain, Warrington, Lansdale, or Doylestown area, take a tour of our preschool today or contact us for more information about preschool in Chalfont.