The Montessori Method in practical life teaches kids to move confidently in the world around them through a set of practical activities. These activities are based on the daily tasks children see their parents implement. This way, children learn essential life skills by observation and imitation.
While the Montessori Method was initially designed for the classroom, you can also implement the principles of Montessori at home. In this article, we’ll explain the application of Montessori practical life activities and their impact on your children’s development and growth.
Zoom on Montessori Practical Life
At the core of its practical life applications, the Montessori methodology believes in letting kids observe life tasks being carried out by adults and allowing them to learn through observation.
Simply put, it assumes that children learn best by doing and trying to imitate what their parents and teachers are doing. This results in increased autonomy, motor skills, and a general understanding of the world around them.
What is Montessori practical life?
Applying the Montessori method in practical life revolves around achieving four main goals for the child’s development. It helps kids:
- Become more independent and able to do things on their own
- Improve their fine and gross motor skills
- Prepare for writing and doing school work by instilling a sense of routine and responsibility
- Develop essential thinking skills like critical thinking, concentration, controlling impulses, and planning.
With the Montessori method, children learn these skills subconsciously while having fun trying to imitate what their parents are doing and exploring the world around them without constant supervision and micromanaging.
Characteristics of Montessori practical life material
Dr. Maria Montessori, the creator of the Montessori Method, noticed that young children are naturally more drawn toward everyday objects and activities they see their parents interact with and carry out.
This primordial instinct, known as action mirroring, naturally occurs in young children and plays a fundamental role in their cognitive and social development.
That’s why the Montessori practical life materials aren’t just toys. Instead, they’re real-life objects that are safe for children to use and suited for their abilities and strength. They should also be made out of natural elements to put the kids in touch with nature.
Benefits of Montessori practical life
Through everyday Montessori practical life activities, kids can grow physically, emotionally, and mentally. These activities help them learn essential skills like self-discipline, orderliness, coordination, cooperation, and responsibility.
For instance, tasks like pouring water into a cup, using tweezers to pick up small objects, or buttoning and zipping clothes require precision and coordination. Transferring grains with a spoon or arranging objects in a specific order teaches them to pay attention to the task at hand.
The 4 Main Areas of Montessori Practical Life
Montessori’s practical life lessons revolve around key concepts aimed at helping children reach the final goal of independence. These lessons can be implemented from a young age, usually around the first year of life.
Here are the four main areas of applying the Montessori Method in practical life.
1. Taking care of themselves and others
Implementing the Montessori activities in real life teaches kids how to take care of their basic needs and recognize the need to help others.
Even the seemingly simplest tasks, like washing their hands, using the bathroom, or putting on a jacket when they feel cold, teach kids how to care for themselves and acknowledge their needs.
Some practical life Montessori activities also help kids learn how to recognize when someone else needs their help and carry out that help to their classmates, siblings, or elderly.
2. Taking care of the environment
The Montessori practical life education teaches kids to take responsibility for their actions. They learn that their actions have consequences, both good and bad. This enhances their cognitive development and helps them understand the importance of caring for the environment and shared spaces.
They learn to do simple things like cleaning up after themselves, using a broom or a mop, and looking after plants. This way, they become more responsible and learn to appreciate the importance of keeping their surroundings clean.
3. Control and coordination of the body
Applying the Montessori Method in practical life activities helps children gain awareness of their bodies and their relation to the surrounding space.
When kids do these activities every day, it helps them get better at coordination, balance, and motor skills. They learn to move their bodies safely and become more skilled and confident in using their physical abilities.
4. Grace and courtesy
The earlier the child learns respect towards other people, the stronger the foundation for them to become respectful adults. By applying the Montessori principles in real life, you can teach your kid how to behave in social situations and when interacting with others.
For instance, Montessori classrooms often include grace and courtesy lessons, where children learn to greet others, say "please" and "thank you," and practice good manners during group activities. These lessons help kids understand the importance of politeness and respect in daily interactions.
What Activity to Choose to Improve Practical Life Skills Following Montessori?
Although many Montessori activities are often designed for school or kindergarten, you can easily do them at home with your child. Some simple everyday activities include:
- Learning to use scissors and cut paper safely
- Opening and closing lockers or cabinets
- Helping to clean the table after meals
- Washing hands properly
- Sewing simple stitches
- Polishing shoes to make them shiny
- Getting dressed independently
- Peeling vegetables for cooking
- Cutting up bananas for a snack
- Mopping the floor.
To make these activities work well, you should place child-sized furniture in the home and use toys that are safe and age-appropriate. You can also set up a Montessori playroom as a separate area in your home for your kids to play with their toys and explore their environment freely.