Practical life is one of the cornerstones of the Montessori teaching method. The exercises practiced by children during these sessions resemble life at home: sweeping, dusting, washing dishes, dressing etc. By practicing these types of activities, children are learning self control and how to be a contributing member of the group. As their ability to master these tasks grows, so to does their confidence and independence. By teaching children self-awareness and reliance, we are increasing their overall sense of self and reinforcing their competency in these areas. Practical life encompasses a number of life lessons, including care of self, grace and courtesy, work and play, getting dressed and helping around the house.
At daycare, my son is practicing these self-help skills by washing his dishes after meals. With the use of Montessori dressing frames, he is being taught how to do up buttons and zippers, all of which are not only developing his fine motor skills, but teaching him how to do these things for himself. At home he is expected to take his dishes into the kitchen when he has finished eating, help make his bed in the mornings and clean up after playing with his toys. Using positive reinforcement, these tasks have been easily adopted into our home and help make my job a lot easier!