The Montessori Program: Practical Life
At the beginning of a child’s life, it is extremely important to begin the formation of skills and thinking, for their future. Exercises that emphasize a child being allowed to experience things that will be useful throughout their lives, is a just a normal part of the thinking for those of us, guiding children through Montessori Education. Having a structure that allows not only parental support, but school support is critical to the success of every child. Each program in the Montessori curriculum gives the structure and guidance to prepare each child to their fullest potential.
The entire Montessori educational process is designed to guide children from extremely young ages to be self-sufficient and capable of being independent thinkers, throughout their lives.
In order to better understand how important, the correct education is, we are going to break down each individual model of the Montessori programs. Our first is called “Practical Life”
What is Practical Life?
Practical: means basic, useful, purposeful
Life: means the way of living.
Practical life Education is exercises presented daily, allowing the child to learn how to perform living activities and doing it in a decisive way.
Purpose of Practical Life
The purpose of this program is to help children gain success and control in the coordination of movement, which as they grow, leads to independence and adaptation into society. Teaching vs Correction helps the process of children becoming fully functional, productive members of their own society. The exercises used in “Practical Life” education develop a child’s intellect and concentration, which in turn creates a logical thinking process that grows as a child grows and is the basis for successful living and thinking. They gain confidence as they progress and are more self-assured and more prepared for the challenges in life that we all face.
Practical Life Exercises are meant to look like everyday events. Being real, breakable, functional and familiar, as well as child age and culture appropriate gives children functional skills for life. Having a variety of colorful, well-arranged materials for each exercise allows the child to fully finish the entire cycle of activity, therefore promoting the confidence of completing their tasks based on their individual levels.
The 4 Exercise Groups provide a gradual learning process. Preliminary Applications, Applied Applications, Grace and Courtesy and Control of Movement.
Preliminary Exercises: Basic movements such as folding, pouring, opening bottles, books, doors, etc., closing those same things, using utensils, and more.
Applied Exercises: Care and maintenance involved in everyday life. Care of their person and care of the environment. Things such as buttons and snaps, zippers, hook and eye and personal hygiene such as hand washing. Environmental care such as dusting a table, sweeping, setting a table, arranging flowers, growing a plant, caring for pets and more.
Grace and Courtesy: This exercise in interactions with others gives children the opportunity to learn proper greetings of others, proper conduct in a social environment, simple things such as offering help or interrupting someone properly. Having good social interaction skills helps a child throughout their lives. They can communicate with others and achieve success in their lives through proper social interactions.
Control of Movement: Coordination and self-control always have positive effects on children as they progress throughout life. Seemingly minor things such as balance and being able to walk on a line or the ability to be silent for extended periods through games designed to strengthen that are valuable for the entirety of a child’s life.
Montessori’s belief is, “Our job is to show children “How” an action is done but at the same time, allow the child to develop in his own way, so it becomes real and natural instead of an imitated, repetitive action”.
From birth through age 6, a child is developing their inner person. Every activity they participate in becomes a part of their character. Participating in activities that prepare them for the future gives them important tools.
Montessori’s Practical Life gives them that preparation of Self-reliance, independent thinking, motor skills and problem-solving, which forms the foundation for their future. Practical Life Exercises also aids the child in their gracefulness and control of their actions as well as care for their environment.