Early Childhood Montessori at Home - Practical Life & Focus
The exercises in the Practical Life area reflect Montessori’s concept of “an education for life” as the child develops practical skills necessary to gain mastery over his actions and she learns to use the common objects of daily life. By engaging in real activities and using real objects with purposeful ends, the child develops real abilities, which give her independence and control of her life. It also helps the child adapt to her environment, as she must follow the social norms and culturally specific methods that govern its care. This gives the child a sense of belonging and order.
By engaging in these activities, the child learns to focus her attention for the entirety of an activity and upon completion, has a deep sense of fulfillment. Therefore, the aim of these activities is not only practical but also developmental. Through these activities, the child to develops concentration, independence, coordination of movement, inner discipline, and independence. This inevitably prepares for the physical, intellectual, cultural, and social life of the individual.
In the first children’s houses, she observed that the children, when given an option, usually preferred real activities over imaginary ones. They liked making a real contribution to the care of their environment. Though the child may be conscious of helping, she will be unconscious of the personal growth that comes about through doing an orderly and meaningful task. Dr. Montessori saw layers of benefits in a simple activity such as washing a table: adaptation to the environment and culture, refinement of gross and fine motor skills, development of mental order, concentration, self-direction, and functional independence.