Exercises/Activities of Practical Life – Life skills
‘I can do it myself!’
This simple realisation gives children confidence and self-esteem. Being able to manage and do things independently, make choices, develop the ability to gauge and assess, all lead to clarity of perception and understanding.
From birth children are striving for independence and we must help them on this path by sharing the skills needed to achieve this end. The Montessori environment provides the opportunity for them to do specific activities that are closely linked to real life. Young children are interested in the ‘process’ required to do the activities and will happily repeat them till they achieve mastery. They value the opportunity to learn how to look after themselves and their environment and the Practical Life activities offered are familiar ones they have seen at home like pouring, sweeping, polishing, spooning and buttoning. These activities help to develop concentration and coordination, social awareness and a sense of order in the environment. The child learns about the limits and possibilities of the material world – how to adapt to the environment and how to be creative in it.
Children connect to ‘real’ activities. In a Montessori House, you see children actually washing, cleaning and cooking rather than pretending to do so.
Looking after ourselves and the well-being of the environment we share, are important considerations. The Exercises of Practical Life develop this awareness and build life skills for independence and purposeful living in the community.