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Practical Life – Part 3

Today we conclude our series on Practical Life. 

One important aspect of the Practical Life environment is that all the materials used are real life objects. Maria Montessori was a great believer in the “reality” principle – objects and tasks should reflect real life, with instruments adapted to a child’s size and potentiality. The Practical Life activities are naturally interesting exercises for the child since they are activities he/she seen grown-ups do. The sequencing for Practical Life begins with scooping and spooning, rolling and folding, twisting, squeezing, grasping and controlling, stringing and lacing, pounding and pushing, care of the self, care of the environment, grace and courtesy, and ending with food preparation. Materials are sequenced according to the following progressions: using hands to using tools, large to small, left to right, top to bottom, gross motor to fine motor, no transfer to transfer, two handed to one handed to two handed in opposition, size and shape of medium used, dry materials to liquid, simple activities to complex, few materials to many, short activities to long, skills in isolation to skills in combinations.

Children benefit from all aspects of the Practical Life environment. They learn the direct aims of independence, concentration, coordination, and order, as well as the indirect aims of the actual skills being practiced. Practical Life is the foundation of the Montessori classroom and enables the child to become a well-adjusted individual.

Earlier posts in this series:

Practical Life – Part 1

Practical Life – Part 2

Practical Life – Part 2

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 of 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-bases 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 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 area of the classroom.

Perhaps the 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.

Parent Education: Practical Life – Part 1

Today we are looking back at a series that we posted back in the summer, Practical Life. 

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 areas 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.

Another great post on Practical Life can be found here as well.

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)