Where Everything Starts
Thoughts & Reflections
Practical life activities serve as the foundation of the Montessori experience. Yet, they are perhaps the most misunderstood component to the Montessori approach to early childhood education. For example, we often hear prospective parents inquire, “But, why do I want my child to learn how to scrub their hands, or wash the dishes? Shouldn’t they, instead, be learning addition or subtraction? And, what about reading and writing?”
Everything in a Montessori classroom starts with practical life, but what exactly does this mean? Practical life activities are a child’s first introduction into the world of the Montessori prepared environment. They see their parents engaged in these tasks at home and they want to try them on their own. Activities included, amongst others, pouring beans and water, scrubbing tables and hands, and washing dishes, sweeping, and polishing.
Not only do practical life activities serve to foster independence, confidence and self-esteem, they also prepare the child for later work. A child will acquire many skills and abilities from practical life activities, such as: how to take care of the environment, developing a sense of self and responsibility, and a growing feeling of confidence and independence. They will also acquire a mathematical disposition, completing the activities as demonstrated, learning sequence, order, and method.
To come full circle and fully answer the inquisitive prospective parents question, the child will also being using language to describe the materials and the process. In Montessori, everything starts with practical life.
Written by:Baan Dek