Exploring Practical Life Skills

Exploring Practical Life Skills

Aug 23, '23
Montessori teachers are professionals at finding the right tools and bowls for every work in their classroom with the focus on the child's ability to be independent with the task.
Practical Life Shelves

Maria Montessori described the practical life area of the classroom as the place where "A child who has become master of his acts through long and repeated exercises, and who has been encouraged by the pleasant and interesting activities in which he has been engaged..." At the beginning of the school year practical life shelves focus on a certain skills that foster the child's independence in the classroom. These skills include scooping, pouring, tonging and sweeping. 

Each tray isolates a specific skill that increases in complexity. Children learn how to refine their fine motor skills while using works that vary in difficulty and slowly requires more coordination.

Once the child has the ability to perform simple practical life tasks like pouring, sorting and transferring successfully, they can engage in activities that are more complex and have multiple steps such as easel painting, food preparation or scrubbing activities. 

Caring for the Environment

A child learns about caring for the environment through practical life skills such as rolling a rug, pushing in a chair, polishing, dusting, and scrubbing a table. Through these gross motor activities, the child learns how to interact with his peers and the importance of silence to enable focus on the task at hand. 
Having the right tools for children to be successful in helping with caring for the environment is important. Scrub brushes need to fit into a child's hand, and scrubbing containers and buckets need to be the right size in order for the child to be able to hold all of the contents properly.
From the preliminary exercises of Care of Self, Care for the Environment, Grace and Courtesy, and Control of Movement to the results of fostered independence, a sense of gratitude, and fine motor and gross motor refinement, practical life lessons give children responsibility in the classroom and the coordination skills needed to be successful.

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