Practical: means basic, useful, purposeful
Life: means the way of living.
Practical life Exercises are just that, they are Exercises so the child can learn how to do living activities in a purposeful way.
Meaning and Purpose of Practical Life
The purpose and aim of Practical Life is to help the child gain control in the coordination of his movement, and help the child to gain independence and adapt to his society. It is therefore important to “Teach teaching, not correcting” (Montessori) in order to allow the child to be a fully functionional member in his/her own society. Practical Life Exercises also aid the growth and development of the child’s intellect and concentration and will in turn also help the child develop an orderly way of thinking.
Practical Life Exercises can be categorized into four different groups: Preliminary Applications, Applied Applications, Grace and Courtesy, and Control of Moment.
In the Preliminary Exercises, the child learns the basic movements of all societies such as pouring, folding, and carrying.
In the Applied Exercises, the child learns about the care and maintenance that helps every day life. These activities are, for example, the care of the person (i.e the washing of the hand) and the care of the environment (i.e dusting a table or outdoor sweeping).
In the Grace and Courtesy Exercises, the children work on the interactions of people to people.
In the Control of Movement Exercises, the child learns about his own movements and learns how to refine his coordination through such activities as walking on the line.
Reason for Practical Life Exercises
Children are naturally interested in activities they have witnessed. Therefore, Dr. Montessori began using what she called “Practical Life Exercises” to allow the child to do activities of daily life and therefore adapt and orientate himself in his society.
It is therefore the Directress’s task to demonstrate the correct way of doing these Exercises in a way that allows the child to fully observe the movements. Montessori says, “If talking don’t move, if moving don’t talk”.
The directress must also keep in mind that the goal is to show the actions so that the child can go off and repeat the activity in his own successful way. Montessori says, “Our task is to show how the action is done and at the same time destroy the possibility of imitation”. The child must develop his own way of doing these activities so that the movements become real and not synthetic.
During the child’s sensitive period between birth and 6, the child is constructing the inner building blocks of his person. It is therefore important for the child to participate in activities to prepare him for his environment, that allow him to grow independently and use his motor skills, as well as allow the child to analyze difficulties he may have in the exercise and problem solve successfully.
Montessori also saw the child’s need for order, repetition, and succession in movements. Practical Life Exercises also helps to aid the child to develop their coordination in movement, their balance and their gracefulness in their environment as well as their need to develop the power of being silent.
Characteristics of Practical Life
Because Practical Life Exercises are meant to resemble everyday activities, it is important that all materials be familiar, real, breakable, and functional. The materials must also be related to the child’s time and culture. In order to allow the child to fully finish the exercise and to therefore finish the full cycle of the activity, the material must be complete.
In the environment, the Directress may want to color code the materials as well as arrange the materials based on difficulties in order to facilitate the classification and arrangements of the work by the children.
The attractiveness is also of utmost importance as Montessori believed that the child must be offered what is most beautiful and pleasing to the eye so as to help the child enter into a “more refined and subtle world”.
The Directress’s prime objectives are to: maintain order in the prepared environment, facilitate the development of the child, encourage independence and self sufficiency. Practical Life Exercises also provide children a sense of accomplishment as they engage in real, meaningful work with tangible results. The familiar home-like environment of the practical life area allows children to gain independence, order, concentration and confidence as they carry out thoughtfully prepared activities. This leads to normalization.
An Introduction to the Montessori Classroom for New Montessori Parents
• Circle time – These are daily gatherings of the whole Montessori class and occur at the beginning and end of the day as well as at transition times. Circle may include: calendar, singing, stories, science experiments, group lessons, problem solving.
•Lessons/Activities– This is direct instruction by a teacher. Lessons (also referred to as activities) are usually presented one-on-one or in a small group. After a lesson is presented, your child may work on that activity any time it is available.
• Work – A child’s work refers to a learning activity or set of Montessori materials. It includes direct and indirect aims, control of error, points of interest, and extensions. Work in the preschool classroom mostly consists of one- or two-person activities. • Mats– All work in the Montessori classroom, except written work, is done on mats. The mat clearly delineates the student’s personal work space. Don’t be surprised if your child comes home asking for a mat to work on! • Snack – It is not unusual for snack to be a child’s favorite activity! Snack in the Montessori classroom is treated as a work. Your child will have a lesson on snack preparation. Afterward, he will be able to prepare and serve himself a snack during the day. Snack is kept simple and is not meant to replace a healthy meal. • Quiet or “Inside” voice – Children often need a lesson on finding and using their quiet voice in the classroom. This ensures a respectful working environment for everyone.
• Practical Life – Practical Life activities are the traditional works of the family and home. They allow children to gain independence and self-discipline, develop gross and fine motor skills, build concentration, as well as indirectly prepare for math and writing. Maria Montessori observed that children prefer real work over imaginary work and real, child-sized tools are used. • Sensorial –Sensorial work covers every quality that can be perceived by the senses. The purpose and aim of Sensorial work is for the child to acquire clear, conscious, information and to be able to then make classifications in the environment. The Sensorial and Practical Life work is unique to the Montessori classroom. • Grace and Courtesy– Preschool children are in a sensitive period for learning good manners and becoming aware of being part of a community. Common courtesies such as saying please and thank you, greeting visitors, serving food, holding the door open and pushing in chairs are presented as lessons to the children. • The Peace Table or Peace Place – Dr. Montessori recognized children as the redeeming factor in the evolution of humankind. ThePeace Table (or Place) is a designated place where children can go to peacefully resolve conflict and work out their differences.
Your child’s enthusiasm for their Montessori classroom may become contagious. For further reading on the Montessori preschool environment you may wish to try:
• A Parents’ Guide to the Montessori Classroom, by Aline D. Wolf • Child of the World: Michael Olaf’s Essential Montessori for Ages 3-12+, by The Michael Olaf Company • How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way, by Tim Seldin • The Montessori Way, by Tim Seldin
Hola! We would like to welcome back all of our returning children and families and extend a warm welcome to all of our new children and families. August is always a time of excitement, yet with that comes anxiety and nervousness for many children. We will do our best to ensure the transition is as seamless as possible and to ensure that each child feels loved, respected and safe. A Montessori learning environment is like no other … our main objective at Orlando Montessori Bilingual Academy is to provide a carefully planned, stimulating environment which will help children to develop within themselves the foundational habits, attitudes, skills and ideas essential for a lifetime of creative thinking and learning. Respect and courtesy in our Montessori school is the foundation for everything we do and each child will soon learn the following important skills:
how to put their work away where they found it
how to tidy up after themselves
the importance of helping a friend in need
the importance of respecting the materials, the teachers and each other
how to tuck in their chair when they leave the table
how to walk in the classroom
how to be self directed and find their own ‘work’ and most importantly,
how to be independent!
Each child will feel empowered at Orlando Montessori Bilingual Academy and learn how great it feels to do things on their own! Each Montessori teacher is here to nurture, support and guide them each and every day and are committed to making your child’s Montessori experience productive, stimulating and fun! We are honored that you have chosen our school and we are confident that this will be a wonderful year for everyone involved!
NOTE: With in the next two weeks we would be sending you your login information to sign into the MRX Portal. This portal will keep you posted as to themes, new friends that have joined the Montessori program and also just to provide you with further insight into the Montessori Method and our program in general. We will do our best to keep you well informed of what is going on and are looking forward to getting to know each child and working with each family to make this year a successful one! If at any time you have questions or concerns, please feel free to make an appointment with us after school so that we can discuss things in detail.
Imagine that you have just entered a special event.
Everyone is already there and has begun to eat their meals, having already had time to hang their coats, get a drink, find their table and get to know the people next to you and across from you before the special guest speaks.
You have arrived late and haven’t had time to do any of the above. It’s almost an arresting feeling to walk in the door and realize how late you are. I mean, it didn’t seem like things were running that far behind, right?
Translating the above scenario, which most adults have experienced at one time or another, to the experience of at 2 ½-6 ½ year old child is not that far from what the child experiences when he arrives to school after the day has already begun.
More often than not the children who are repeatedly tardy haven’t the slightest idea that they are, in fact, very late to school until they reach the doorway and see that the class is already in session. They see their friends busy at work, no longer in the transitional space in the doorway for putting away coats and lunchboxes and greeting one another. There is always a moment where the late child stands almost paralyzed in the doorway, and it dawns on them that they are late.
“Young children are easily distracted. A classmate who comes into the room after an activity has started causes disruption. Disruptions can take time away from valuable activities and learning opportunities for the rest of the group that is already engaged.”
I’m reminded of one very strong-willed child who was always late to school by at least an hour and sometimes two. Every day, she would come into the classroom with a scowl on her face and have the toughest time finding a material to work with to begin her day.
For almost a whole school year, I tried to figure out why she was so late, talking about the importance of being on time with her parents, reminding them that we wanted to offer all of the children a peaceful, uninterrupted three-hour-work cycle, to no avail. Finally, she told me that she just didn’t feel like getting up in the morning.
Mentioning this new development to her parents changed things a bit. They started to put her to bed earlier and wake her up earlier so they could arrive at school on time. And interestingly enough, she started to change as well. The scowl left her face and was replaced with eagerness and joy to be at school and even arrive before some of her other friends. Others had the same response once they began to arrive on time. Tantrums ceased.
It is so vital to set up a consistent routine at home so that one is able to get from place to place on time. Children at this age are looking to us to know how we should be as human beings. If we set up the precedence that it is acceptable to walk in late to school, church, plays, baseball practice, ballet rehearsal or a violin lesson, the children begin to develop a habit of arriving after events are under way and never really understand the impression that it has on others.
On the other hand, if we can offer to the children a predictable routine and schedule so that they know when things are happening, it often takes the stress and chaos out of leaving on time. They can depend on the same series of events to happen before they must be in the car on the way to school, practices, etc.
We understand things happen and tardy here or there may occur. Let’s be mindful of chronic lateness and work towards establishing a productive routine for your child and positive habits. Class begins at 8:30am