The Education of a small child, therefore, does not aim at preparing him for school, but for Life.Maria Montessori
The Practical life area of our classrooms are filled with activities that enable children to practice different kinds of daily life activities, acquiring skills they will use throughout their lifetime.
Generally, the activities of practical life revolve around four areas:
- Caring for the Self - washing your hands or brushing your hair
- Caring for the Environment - wiping a table or sweeping the floor
- Grace & Courtesy - social interactions between each other
- Movement of Objects - carrying a tray or setting a table
Practical life activities help give the child a sense of being and belonging, established through participation in daily life with us. They are able to echo the movements and activities they see adults doing around them on a daily basis.
Practical life encompasses the idea of ‘care of self’ so they are encouraged to use a dustpan and brush, put on their coats, wipe up any spills, even blow their own nose. Dressing frames help children to do up and undo their own clothes. As they master these skills children are encouraged to fetch their coat from their hook and put it on themselves.
Practical life activities you might see in our classrooms are pouring water from one jug to another or transferring beans using a spoon from one china bowl to another. These activities develop concentration and fine motor skills. Cutting strips of card or threading pasta to make a necklace all enable the child to complete an activity and repeat it over and over again in order to refine their skills and develop their concentration.
Many of these activities have links to other areas of learning such as sorting beads with tweezers which practices the pincer grip that is a crucial precursor to writing.