“The Montessori term that encompasses domestic work to maintain the home and classroom environment; self-care and personal hygiene; and grace and courtesy. Practical life skills are of great interest to young children and form the basis of later abstract learning.”
Practical life, the next definition in my What is Montessori Series, is one of five general curriculum areas within Montessori. Practical Life work includes spooning, tweezing, pouring, sweeping, buttoning and greeting, to name a few. The major take away in my Montessori training was that Practical Life activities aren't directly about teaching a child to clean and dress himself but more directly on completing a work cycle, concentrating and being responsible for their environment (including a phenomenal peace curriculum).
The AMS writes: “Young children in Montessori classrooms learn to take care of themselves and their environment through activities such as hand washing, dusting, and mopping. These activities help toddlers and preschool-age children learn to work independently, develop concentration, and prepare for later work with reading and math; older children participate in more advanced activities.”
A few of my favorite Practical Life related quotes include:
– “Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.”
– “The first essential for the child’s development is concentration. The child who concentrates is immensely happy.”
– “To give a child liberty is not to abandon him to himself.”
– “To assist a child we must provide him with an environment which will enable him to develop freely.”
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