How it all begins
In a nutshell, the Montessori curriculum begins in Practical Life. In order for children to excel in learning, they must learn to concentrate first. Practical Life is the area of the classroom where children are provided with a variety of concrete activities that develops this fundamental skill. It not only ignites concentration, it also fosters independence, coordination, a love for work, a love for order, initiative within a child, self-discipline, empathy, sociability, joy and so much more. Every aspect of the Montessori curriculum is valuable and has a purpose. The Practical Life section of our Pre-Primary and Primary classrooms are no exception, but it’s easy to dismiss these materials as simple or too easy. True, they are deceptively basic looking. How can a tray with two bowls, a small spoon, and beans be academic? Practical Life materials spawn the building blocks of concentration, independence, self-confidence, and fine motor skills. If that isn’t enough, how about this? The concentration your child develops by working with Practical Life materials is the foundation for learning and understanding language and math. Source #1
What makes up the Practical Life curriculum?
1) Preliminary Activities: These activities provide the foundation and set the stage for all works in the Montessori classroom. These include such tasks as how to roll and unroll a mat, how to walk around a mat, how to sharpen a pencil, how to put down a chair, and walking on the line.
2) Care of Self: These activities provide the means for children to become physically independent. These may include such activities as how to wash hands, how to brush teeth, how to pack a lunch, how to pack an overnight bag, and how to tie shoes.
3) Care of the Environment: Learning how to clean is very important in the Montessori classroom. These activities may include how to set the table, how to clean dishes and cutlery, how to sweep the floor, how to dust the shelves, how to water the plants, and how to clean up spills.
4) Social Graces and Courtesies: These activities are not found on the shelves. Rather, the Montessori teacher introduces social graces and courtesies such as how to shake hands, saying please and thank you, how to interrupt someone, and how to cough and sneeze. Source #3
What are examples of Practical Life at Sunrise Montessori?
In order, learning how to apologize and resolve conflicts with the Peace Rose, peeling carrots, buttoning, sweeping, putting on a jacket, washing produce, using a dustpan, scrubbing a tabletop, putting on shoes, self-care, and washing hands..
Bringing it home
So how can you help your children at home with Practical Life activities and help them to become a truly helpful part of your family? Follow these characteristics of Practical Life materials. Source #2 These will guide you to preparing your home for success!
Practical Life covers so many areas we want our children to learn, it’s a little daunting. It teaches our students about all the little things in life we as adults already know how to do (they master these vital skills through practice and concentration). Just like your child crawled before walking, a child doesn’t learn to focus intensely for minutes at a time with something complex and difficult with some practice. They need to start with simple things and grow from there. And by using a small spoon to transfer dried beans from one bowl to the next, sweeping the floor, or arranging flowers, Montessori-educated children are laying down the small acts that lead to the higher learning that is yet to come!
Sunrise Montessori Preschool has two locations in Round Rock. Interested in learning first hand what we can offer your child? Then book a tour on our website at Sunrise-Montessori.com or call us so you can discover why Sunrise Montessori Preschool is where YOUR family belongs!