The latest in Montessori — Practical Life

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No Knead Bread - great to cook with kids 0

 

3 cups Plain Flour

1 1/2 cups luke-warm water

1-2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp yeast

 

1. In large bowl, mix together flour, salt & yeast.

2. Add water and stir together until rough dough

3. Cover dough with gladwrap and leave at room temp for 8-12 hours

4. When ready to bake, preheat oven and ceramic pot with lid to 250 degrees.

5 Empty dough onto well floured surface and use hands to make a ball. Let rest for 5 minutes

6. Once rested, add dough to heated pot. Place in oven with lid on for 30 minutes

7. After 30 minutes, remove lid off pot and bake for another 15 minutes.

8. Bread should be golden, crusty and delicious!

*You can help kids by adapting this recipe to use colour coded items like our measuring cups and measuring spoons. (eg. 2 purple spoons of salt)

PRACTICAL LIFE - “The Hand and brain work together” 0

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.

{MONTESSORI AT HOME} #1 Practical Life 0

Welcome to the first activity from our Montessori at Home series. This one is in the Practical Life category.

 

PRACTICALLY IMPRACTICALLY 0

Just as the kitchen may be the centre of family life in your home, Practical Life is the soul of the Montessori Curriculum. A child’s first experiences in a Montessori environment are those in the area of Practical Life.

These are the first exercises that the child sees that are familiar to their past experiences in the home. The Practical Life experiences centre on the three fundamental needs to care for oneself, to care for the natural and built environment, and to care for other people. The area of Practical Life should be prominent in a Montessori environment and entice the children to return to these exercises that meet the needs of the sensitive periods for movement, order, and language.

What activities could you provide for your child in the home, that will allow them to contribute to the care of themselves, look after the house, or do something nice for a family member without being asked?

When there are activities aplenty in the area of practical life, there is no need for arbitrary rules for behavior in a classroom. This is possible because children are engaged in work that is contributing to the development of themselves and those around them, while contributing to the care of the physical and natural world as well.

Here’s the challenge for us as adults, to make these activities accessible to our children… We need to set up activities that are practically impractical!

Rather than having children use our tools, we need to have equipment that is the appropriate height, weight and that function well for small bodies.  We need to demonstrate first for our children in a way that is not efficient or ‘the best and fastest’ way to get something done. We need to slow down and break down an activity into small manageable parts, so that a child may see each step clearly and be able to replicate it successfully. We should provide children with real tools, not plastic or mock tools that don’t serve a real purpose. 

Children may happily pretend to use a plastic shovel for a short amount of time, but give them a real shovel and a real mound of dirt and they will do so for hours and have picked up a skill along the way.

The activities in practical life mirror activities carried out by adults in their direct cultural communities, but are reproduced in such a way to provide a multitude of benefits to the child: functional independence, concentration, self-confidence, development of sequential thought, social relationships, development of ordered work cycle, self-discipline, integration of personality and character, develop choice making skills, harmony of mind/muscles/will power, attachment to reality, encourages inclusivity among peer groups, development of coordination of movement.

With these outcomes available to the child, why not set up a few activities in your home today? Whether it’s preparing food, practicing with utensils, having cleaning up tools on hand for your child to care for the home. Perhaps craft activities available on a tray with all the materials needed for the child to work independently without the need for you to set it up or clean it up for them. Stay tuned to I AM Montessori to learn many more ways you can make Practical Life more practical in your home.