Importance of Practical Life activities.
Practical Life exercises are the exercises of everyday living. These exercises found in a Montessori school are those that assist a child in becoming more independent in their daily activities. The Practical life area in a Montessori classroom are the first building block in a child’s road to independence. It is this area that the youngest children are attracted to first. This area enables infants to 3 years old and above to learn basic activities that will help them on their road to independence in the classroom environment as well as at home. Pouring is a classic example of an activity from the practical life area that carries onto a real life situation like snack time at school or dinner time at home. The benefits of the practical life area in Montessori are innumerable.
The four main abilities that this area helps develop in a child are:
“The exercises of Practical Life are formative activities, a work of adaptation to the environment. Such adaptation to the environment and efficient functioning therein is the very essence of a useful education.”
Two identical bowls, one of them ¾ full of a grain, lentils, beans, beads, pom-poms, and a child size tray, with a slight edge for grasping and a spoon.
Age: 2 ½ – 3
1. Carry the tray containing the spoon and two bowls (one with beans) to the table and gently set it down, such that the beans are in the left-hand bowl.
2. Sit, then pick up the spoon with your thumb on top and middle finger supporting the handle.
3. With the opposite hand, steady the left-hand bowl full of beans.
4. Scoop up a spoonful of beans and pause over the bowl.
5. Slowly move the spoon over to the center of the empty bowl, lower it, then tip the spoon such that the beans slide off.
6. Repeat until the first bowl is empty. You may show tipping the left-hand bowl toward you to scoop the last remaining beans.
7. Put the spoon down on the table.
8. With two hands, place each bowl above the tray, and look at the tray and table to see if any beans have spilled. Use a pincer grasp to pick up any spilled beans.
9. Replace the spoon and bowls, and orient the tray for the child.
10. Invite the child to try.
This exercise helps in many ways with independence, concentration and coordination.