The primary goal of the materials involved in the Montessori subject “Practical Life” is to instill a realistic sense of independence and self-reliance into a child. Along with love and a stable environment, this is the child’s greatest need for advancement in their life.
This area of the curriculum focuses on developing skills which allow the child to gain control of and deal with the social and physical environment in which they partake in for a large part of the day. As the child grows, the sense of being able to “do it myself” begins to establish itself. Practical life begins as soon as the young child enters the school and progresses to more and more advanced tasks appropriate for the eldest students.
As they grow, children apply their independent skills in purposeful work, beginning with simple work, such as making fresh fruit juice or polishing. These activities specifically contribute to skills utilizing movement control and coordination, concentration development, and self-esteem building, which assists their learning and truly contributes to the group.
During this curriculum, children develop a sense of self discipline which gets instilled in them, obtaining traits such as:
- Being polite while talking, not interrupting
- Waiting for their turn
- Responding to teachers and friends in a respectful manner
- Accepting patience as a part of life
- Giving and receiving politely
Montessori materials used for Practical Life lessons include:
- Pouring pitchers teach the child how to pour grains, water, and juice, practicing motor control and coordination, introducing them to real life skills.
- Dressing frames teach the child how to button, buckle, snap, tie bows, and lace shoes by themselves, a practice used to emphasize independence and build self-esteem.
- Using a napkin while eating and hand washing focus on practicing cleanliness.
- Using tools independently builds their self-esteem and helps the child acquire new skills that can be used in real life.