PRACTICAL LIFE - “The Hand and brain work together”
The practical life activities that are set out in a Montessori environment, and the activities that children do in their daily living, helps them to develop an understanding of the environment that they are living in. The activities that they perform need to link between the child’s home environment and the classroom. They learn to concentrate on activities that they do, we see this happen when a child chooses an activity, takes it to a table or mat and starts to work on it, the children are using precise movements which challenges them to concentrate, they work at their own pace and work uninterrupted. When they are very young the time they spend on it may not be as long as an older child, but they are learning the way in which to do the activity, as you will have demonstrated it to them before they start, completing the cycle of work results in the feelings of satisfaction and confidence. When the children are working on their practical life activities they are developing their hand-eye co-ordination, they learn this as they practice, transferring, pouring, sewing, threading, working with the dressing frames, using tongs and tweezers to transfer they are learning their control of movement. They are also developing their manual dexterity and independence while doing these activities.
Children when doing practical life, show an enjoyment of work, they love to do the activities themselves, and clearly enjoy the outcome of their work. This is building their self-esteem as they are allowed to work on different tasks that help them to become independent. They learn a good work ethic and they will have an awareness of their contribution to society and will grow intellectually. They learn a sense of order, which is learnt from the very beginning in a Montessori environment when they first learn to get a mat roll it out onto the floor, choose an activity work on the activity then place it back on the shelf in the way they first found it. Practical Life activities, give children the ability to care for the environment, care for themselves and to learn grace and courtesy.
Clearly Practical Life gives children the preparation for maturity that they need. Today’s children are the adults for the future; we need to give our children the best learning experience so their path through life is clear, and they become strong independent people.
- Rebecca Grugan