Practical Life activities are everyday tasks that children learn in order to master the care of themselves and of their environment. Maria Montessori introduced this curriculum area in the education of young children because her method aimed at preparing children for life as well as for school. Our practical life activities are real activities which meet the needs of the child in his individual stage of development and then lead him to independence from the adult. In learning to do such seemingly mundane tasks as dressing, dusting, sweeping, combing ones hair etc., the child learns to use his body and mind to concentrate, to complete activities he has started, and to contribute to the community. The Practical Life activities are presented to the child in such a way that concentration, coordination, independence and order are developed. These are skills and work habits that can lead to success in later life.
The Montessori activities of Practical Life are generally thought of in the following three main categories:
1) Care of the Environment
2) Care of the Person
3) Grace and Courtesy
Care of the Environment
These activities include such things as, cleaning, sweeping, pouring, gardening, cooking, helping care for the animals, and simple things such as learning to close a zip lock bag.
Care of the Person
These activities include such things as brushing their hair, washing their hands, buttoning and zipping, putting on shoes and socks, and even applying a band aid.
Grace and Courtesy
These activities include such things as walking carefully, how to properly carrying things, offering food, saying “please” and “thank you”, and even how to politely interrupt a conversation.