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Parent Education: Practical Life – Part 2 (How the Skills Developed in Practical Life Benefit Other Curriculum Areas)

Today, we continue our series exploring the Practical Life area of the Montessori classroom, focusing in this post on the ways in which Practical Life skills benefit other curriculum areas.

Many of the exercises in the Practical Life area are preparation exercises for Sensorial works. The exercises help to fine tune the development of the child’s senses. Many uses of the five senses occur in the Practical Life area: sound, sight, and touch are used in equipment-based activities, such as bean scooping; smelling and tasting are involved in the preparation of food.

Practical Life not only develops the child’s senses and teaches real life skills, but also sets the basic foundation for other areas to come. For example, understanding size, weight, and equal distribution are skills which are vital when the child is introduced to the Math are of the classroom. Perhaps most significant is the development of the pincer grip, which allows the child to correctly grip a pencil and begin working in the Language area.

Next Wednesday: The Conclusion of Our Exploration of the Practical Life Area

Other posts in this series:

Parent Education: Practical Life – Part 1 (Introduction and Exercises)

Parent Education: Practical Life – Part 3 (Conclusion)

Parent Education: Practical Life – Part 1 (Introduction and Exercises)

Today, we begin a new series exploring the Practical Life area of the Montessori classroom.

In a Montessori classroom, the Practical Life area is one of the first areas that a child explores. This section of the classroom provides the child with real-life materials that help to develop coordination, concentration, independence, and order.

Through the exercises of Practical Life, the child learns the skills that enable him to become an independent being. From birth, the child is striving for independence and concerned adults, parents and teachers, should help him on his path by showing him the skills he needs to achieve this end. Having been shown a skill, the child then needs freedom to practice and perfect. In a Montessori classroom, preschool children learn basic motor skills in the Practical Life area by teaching themselves and learning from other children rather than by specific adult instruction. As the child becomes absorbed in an interesting activity, he develops concentration. If the activity is appropriate and meets a need, it will be interesting for the child. The longer the child is absorbed by an activity the better for the development of concentration. Through activity, the child learns to control his movements. The idea that the path to intellectual development occurs through the hands is a major theme in the Montessori Method. The exercises of Practical Life provide opportunities for the development of both gross motor and fine motor movements. In addition, the child learns to keep the environment in a clean and ordered way, putting everything away in its right place. He is taught to approach each new task in an ordered way, to carry it out carefully, to complete the activity, and finally, how to clean up and put the materials away. Engaging in this complete process encourages logical thinking.

Next Wednesday: How the Skills Developed in Practical Life Benefit Other Curriculum Areas

Other posts in this series:

Parent Education: Practical Life – Part 2 (How the Skills Developed in Practical Life Benefit Other Curriculum Areas)

Parent Education: Practical Life – Part 3 (Conclusion)