I’m sure visitors come into our environments and are sometimes confused by some of the equipment or experiences we have here. Why are children moving things with tongs from one bowl to another? Why are they pouring from tiny jugs or sweeping with a child-size broom? In this post, we are going to explore the importance of Practical Life Activities.
What are Practical Life Activities? In a nutshell, they are exercises that children can learn how to do living activities in a purposeful way. They help children build skills that aid in the coordination of movement, and help children gain independence and adapt to our society.
Firstly, we start with very simple ones, such as how to carry a chair or pouring dry materials from one jug to another, or spooning objects from one bowl to another. Why does a child need to learn how to carry a chair, you ask? Think of it this way… if a child carries a chair by dragging it by the back, it creates noise and interruption to the room. They might hit something. They might run over someone’s foot!
By showing children how to carry it efficiently we can improve the flow of the room. Having children use jugs, spoons or tongs are all important skills for meal times and for their independence. No one wants to be spoon fed for the rest of their life! As children progress through Montessori, Practical Life Activities become more challenging and interesting.
To sum up, my Montessori tutor always said, “Everything begins and ends in Practical Life”. At Montessori, here in Kerikeri, this is just one way we can encourage and empower our tamariki to be active participants in their own learning for life.