In Montessori, every material has it’s own purpose and process how to use it correctly or let me say “mindfully“. It is exactly the same as the activities for daily living or self-care that we called “Practical Life Activities”. In this blog, I am sharing some important thoughts and insights about practical life skills and also our special moments at home doing some household chores with a help of a young child. First, I would like to share my thoughts why this is greatly important to a growing and developing child (first plane of development). It is important that we allow the child to experience and touch a variety of household materials that we use in our daily living. The more they are involved in whatever we do the easier for them to learn important life skills that will last a lifetime. That is the best gift we can give to our new generations of learners”
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I still remember a fellow co-worker at school asked me “Why does the child need to learn how to wash hands using a basin?” I simply answered her “The child discovers new things and they are very curious to learn the process”.
Maria Montessori placed great value on the Practical Life exercises, referring to them as the “gymnasium for perfecting one’s action”. She believed that they not only refine skills but also form the foundation of character.
“The hands, therefore, are connected with mental life. Indeed, does not ancient art of palmistry maintain that racial history is imprinted on the hand and that is a spriritual organ? Hence, the study of a child’s psychological development must be closely bound up with the study of his hands activities, which are stimulated by his mind. Nothing shows better than this how closely the two are entwined.”
The experiences in Practical Life are crucial for building a firm foundation for future learning. Before children can master language and math skills, they need solid work habits and a strong inner sense. Practical Life activities are the vehicle to build this foundation.
Practical Life in a Montessori education benefitted a child through spontaneous repetition or mastery of each activity. Through this activity the child also develop the love for work, independence, hand-eye coordination and love of order.
Core Principles Of Practical Life Activities
- Emphasis on life skills
- Care of environment
- Care of self
- Purposeful movement
- Develop motor skills (large and small muscles)
- Leads to independence
- Leads to conscious choices
- Auto-education (learning by doing)
- Raise self-esteem and self worth
- Executive Function- In a young age we encourage them how to organize, plan, take initiative and self-regulation. The work itself has it’s own reward.
Through Practical Life activities, children build and refine the internal skills needed for the learning that is to come. Montessori noted that children construct themselves through their own activities. The Practical Life area offers an opportunity to build a strong foundation for all subsequent work, making it an essential part of the young child’s experiences.
Collections Of Practical Life Activities At Home
Here’s a collection of our family moments at home doing simple chores as a practical life activities that a young child can learn and master. As you can see, a very close supervision is needed for an activity such as cooking wherein hot surface is a common danger.