Practical Life Exercises for a Child
One of the most distinctive and widely known features of Montessori pedagogy is that children spend a lot of time mastering the so-called practical life exercises such as washing the floor, washing clothes, cleaning their shoes etc. Usually, children between two and four years of age spend the most time in this area. The child, who is at this time in the sensual period of development of precise movements, meets their needs by working with the materials of practical life.
Most of the materials are for everyday household chores and gradually allow the child to apply complex movements in exercises at home, with family, in a social group. This includes cooking breakfast, dressing and undressing independently. Thus, the child grows self-confidence.
What Household Chores Can be Given to Children?
Practically all exercises in practical life can be completed at home. Allocate a separate area for them and introduce new materials for new and different chores as the child develops and grows up. Don't be surprised if a child under four spends most of their time working with these materials.
Such materials are always relevant at home, even for those children who are already attending a Montessori group.
These exercises usually start the introduction to the Montessori environment and help a child maintain the general order in the classroom or Montessori environment. Although they seem so simple and elementary, that they do not need a specific presentation, they do. It is necessary to find time for them and pay special attention to them with your child.
- How to walk in a group or at home without hitting objects.
- How to carry objects (chair, mat, tray objects, glasses filled with water).
- Opening and closing (boxes, tubes, doors).
- Rolling out and rolling up a mat. A special place in the home should be reserved for mats, that your child should be aware of. At home, a child will need at least one small mat. Set the rule: "If the mat is in the way, walk around the mat”.
Pouring and Transferring
These exercises are recommended for children aged up to three years for the purpose of cleaning and preparing food for cooking.
- Scooping and transferring food with different/ different size spoons from one plate to another plate or they can make piles.
- Pouring a liquid from one jug to another.
- Pouring liquids through a funnel.
- Sieving ingredients such as flour.
- Buttoning/ unbuttoning and the fastening of various types of fasteners.
- Hand washing.
- Shoe cleaning.
Exercises for the Care of the Environment.
- Wiping dust
- Cleaning (washing the floor and cleaning the table and dishes).
- Caring for flowers and pets.
Scoops, brushes, brooms etc. made of natural materials (wood, metal) will help to embellish daily cleaning routines and as Montessori devotees, we know that everything in the house needs to have its own place, and cleaning materials are no exception. Find a separate shelf, corner, hanger to store them. If cleaning materials are readily available to the child, they will easily and with pleasure contribute to the maintenance and cleanliness of the home.
Special Forms of Movement
There may be many other exercises that you can invent to help your child achieve dexterity of movement and promote the development of independence:
- The ability to walk beautifully, gracefully, to develop a sense of balance (walking in a line).
- The ability to maintain peace and quiet (an exercise of silence).