The Practical Life area in any Montessori classroom is particularly special – it’s where children are given the opportunity to develop the concentration skills that are necessary for them to excel in all subjects. Maria Montessori believed that concentration is the key to all learning:
The first essential for the child’s development is concentration. The child who concentrates is immensely happy.
In order to nurture the skill of concentration, the Practical Life area in a Montessori classroom encourages the practice and repetition of everyday real life activities. Typically, Practical Life comprises three areas: ‘preliminary shelves’, ‘care of self’ and ‘care of environment’. ‘Grace and courtesy’ is also a component of Practical Life although it might not have dedicated shelf space.
Preliminary Shelves offer everyday activities such as pouring, spooning, stringing, tonging, twisting and folding.
Care of Self activities include dressing, toileting, brushing teeth, bathing, combing hair, preparing food and setting the table.
Care of Environment activities include scrubbing, dish washing, cleaning, sweeping, dusting, gardening, raking and polishing.
Grace and Courtesy is all about using table manners, greeting others, saying “please” and “thank you”, learning to control one’s own body.
Collectively, these activities assist the development of order, concentration, coordination and independence (OCCI). Children will learn to care for themselves and the world around them, also developing self-control, refining movement and strengthening hand muscles, which will prepare them for handwriting.
Each activity is broken down into successive steps so that the child may practise each step repeatedly until he has mastered the skill – achieved through tried and practiced levels of concentration.
To find out more about this area in our curriculum feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re happy to answer any questions.
Source: Montessorirocks.org – “Practical Life: An Area of Purpose”