Montessori Practical life Essay

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Montessori Practical life Essay
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  • University/College:
    University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Words: 883

  • Pages: 4

Montessori Practical life

Most children are passionately interested in practical life activities because the activities respond to all the sensitive periods (important periods of childhood development). Practical life activities build a foundation on which the children will grow and carry over into the other areas of the classroom, and over in to their every day life. The Montessori Practical Life exercises respond to the need for: Order of activities (sequences, routine, hierarchy, a cycle or full rotation of an activity) Movement. All practical life activities involve great movements that are varied and attractive. The variety of movements help the child’s self-awareness within the environment and increase the child’s acquisition of intelligent movement. Sensorial exploration (sights, sounds, smells, and eventually language). Needs and tendencies are responded to, to help the children adapt so that they can actively participate and grown within their environment. A child’s love of work. Practical life activities feed their natural desire to work and play an active role in their environment.

Practical Life Lessons Guide Children

1. Construction and integration of the child’s personality through their freedom of choice, and through the variety of their choices. Freedom of choice is necessary for the healthy development of the will.

2. Spontaneous purposeful activity that is only possible when children are allowed to exercise their curiosity through repetition. It is only through repetition that abstraction is possible. This abstraction brings about a feeling of completion for the growing child.

3. Development of co-ordination of movement. The child thinks of the activity, wills himself to the activity, and then does the activity.

4. Development of the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of the child.

5. Purposeful movement that helps the development of the mind, and a sense of achievement. The development of the child’s mind, movement, and senses will in turn, develop the will.

6. Concentration. The child will concentrate on completing an activity as perfectly as possible; all activities are intelligible, logical, sequential, and exact. Children will internalize this and try to repeat the exercises as perfectly as possible; all exercises have a motive for perfection.

7. Orderly work habits. The children need to internalize presentations in an orderly manner in order to reproduce it in an orderly manner.

8. The practical life exercises develop logical thought through the definite logic in the exercises. There is a beginning, middle, and end to each exercise.

9. The exercises give the children a sense of responsibility from the result of freedom (freedom which is a result of co-ordination of movement and awareness of the environment). Children have the freedom and ability to exercise their will within their environment.

10. Social development. All of the practical life exercises teach the children grace, courtesy, patience, and respect. These elements of social development are re-enforced through the actions of the other children and through the actions of the teacher.

11. Establish a sense of reality, rooted in real activities (nothing is make-believe). Exercises are lucid, logical, and realistic. This helps the children pursue reality. If an activity is not meaningful and purposeful than the mind cannot develop or construct itself.

12. Emotional stability helps the children become familiar with the real world and their environment. It builds self-esteem, and through that, their dignity will flourish. Materials and activities are therapeutic, meaning the mind and body work together.

Scope and Sequence of the Montessori Practical Life area

Before beginning you must observe the child, know what kind of activities they are drawn to, and understand their current skills and abilities. Not all children will be capable of each activity in the order it is shown below. The order below is a guideline only – not a steadfast rule. It is possible to skip over certain activities as long as the next activity the child chooses does not require knowledge/skill that the child does not yet have. The key is to follow the child and offer appropriate activities according to their abilities. The goal is always to set the child up for success. That’s not to say that the child won’t have to work through an activity and repeat it over and over again before being successful. The child needs to be adequately prepared for the activity, physically and mentally. And last, but not least, adults must use their own judgment and decide if an activity is safe for the child.

Many practical life activities do not require expensive ‘Montessori materials’ to be effective. As well, practical life activities will vary from culture to culture. You can read Practical Life Lessons and Practical Life FAQ’s for more information.

If you are homeschooling your child and wish to have a little more theory and direction on the presentation of Practical Life materials you can purchase our Practical Life Teaching Manual.

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Montessori Practical Life Essay

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Montessori Practical Life Essay
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  • University/College:
    University of California

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Words: 1656

  • Pages: 7

Montessori Practical Life

In this essay I will be discussing the importance and different aspects of the practical life area in a Montessori classroom. Children are naturally interested in activities they have witnessed, therefore Doctor Maria Montessori began using what she called “practical life exercises” to allow the child to do activities of daily life and therefore adapt themselves in their society. Doctor Maria Montessori developed her philosophy of education based upon actual observations of children; she observed that children prefer work rather than play. It is through work that children obtain independence, order, concentration and normalization. Practical life exercises are recognized to be the heart of Montessori education. In the first six years a child becomes a full member of his or her particular culture and family group absorbing language, attitudes, manners and values of those in which he or she comes into daily contact with. Children feel comfortable and safe when they find a secure and lovable environment, a child develops best if they are in an environment full of affection, love, caring and support. Doctor Maria Montessori in the Absorbent Mind writes “the hands are instruments of man’s intelligence”.

It is only through the practice of movement that a child can learn and develop, for this reason Doctor Maria Montessori decided to incorporate the area of practical life into her classroom as this is where the practice begins (mymontessorimoments). Through the exercises of practical life the child learns to adapt to his or her environment, learns self-control, sees themselves as part of a society and most importantly grow intellectually through working with his or her hands and master the skills needed for his or her future. “Watching a child makes it obvious that the development of his mind comes through his movements” (Montessori, 1995).

There are many links between the home and the school in the area of practical life. It is the first area introduced to the child in the classroom. Maria Montessori stated “Children feel a special interest for those things already rendered to them in the earlier period” (Montessori, 1995). The activities in the classroom are familiar to the child as many of them are done at home. The child can therefore settle in easily and master the skills with confidence while learning co-ordination of movement and relate back to past experiences at home (www.montmet.co.za). In an ideal situation practical life would be located near the entrance to the classroom, as a link between home and school as well as a foundation for the curriculum. The area should be attractive containing flowers, paintings, vases etc to draw the child to the practical life area.

The area of practical life assists in the growth and development of the child’s intellect and concentration and will also help the child develop an orderly way of thinking (www.sevencounties.org). Practical life sparks respect and love for any work, helps the child to perform the activities of daily life with joy, skill, and grace through which he or she is aiming for perfection. Exercises in practical life are just that, they are exercises so the child can learn how to do living activities in a purposeful way. The purpose and aim of practical life is to help the child gain control in the coordination of his or her movement, and help the child to gain independence and adapt to his or her surroundings. It is therefore important to “Teach teaching, not correcting” (quotes/Maria_Montessori) “No one can be free unless he is independent.

Therefore, the first active manifestation of the child’s individual liberty must be so guided that through the activity he may arrive at independence” (quotes/Maria_Montessori). Practical life helps the child gain control of his or her movement particularly the development of the hand`s coordination. The fine muscles coordination is linked to the child`s conceptual development. As Doctor Maria Montessori quoted ”The human hand allows the mind to reveal itself (quotes/Maria_Montessori). Practical life activities help the child to gain independence and enable the child to associate his or her own physical, psychic, and moral needs. The practical life area contains an orderly arrangement of exercises involving familiar objects and the activities of daily life. These will be things that the children have already seen their parents or family members doing that the child wishes to imitate.

For example: pouring, spooning, various cleaning exercises and others. The exercises are ordered, with earlier exercises providing a foundation and all the skills needed for the more advanced activities to follow. The organisation of the area helps children feel secure, familiarize themselves in the classroom, and develop the inner order necessary for clear and rational thought. Practical life exercises fall under four basic categories: care of the person, care of the environment, analysis of movement and grace and courtesy. Grace and courtesy provides the child with the absolute basics such as rolling out a mat, sitting on a chair, and how to ask the directress for assistance while busy with another child. This foundation provides the skills in order for the child to participate in classroom life and complete each activity.

Analysis of movement promotes a sense of accomplishment and self-esteem through activities that are real, precise, and practical such as spooning or pouring which encourages motor skills. Care of the person includes skills necessary for dressing independently such as zipping, buttoning, and tying. The dressing frames in the classroom provide the child the opportunity to practice these skills, the children are also encouraged to try zip, button or tie their own coats shoes etc. Care of the environment includes teaching responsibility of the world around them. The children scrub chairs, wash dishes, care for plants and help feed the animals if there are any in their environment.

“Therefore, the first active manifestations of the child’s individual liberty must be so guided that through this activity he may arrive at independence” (Montessori, The advanced Montessori Method, 2010).Montessori learning environments are prepared to allow children to be socially and intellectually independent. Montessori learning materials are designed to capture the child’s interest and attention and to encourage independent use. When children work with the Montessori materials, they perfect their movements as well prepare themselves for learning educational knowledge. All exercises reflect the environment in which the child lives, all activities use real tools and are physically proportioned in order to help the children develop their motor skills and perfect precise movements.

All Montessori equipment is attractive as experiencing beauty lays the foundation of self-appreciation. All children want to be independent, as adults we become used to doing everything for them, it is hard to let go of control. But, we need to feed their desire for independence. Children learn important life skills as they handle materials in practical life. Even more important is the confidence that the child gains when he or she achieves a new goal. “Help me to do it by myself” (Montessori, Secret ofChildhood, 1996).

Maria Montessori believed in educating the whole being and not just the intelligence of a child. Before the start of western education and the school system as we know it today, all children actually learnt from birth to adulthood were these same practical life activities, and this was more or less all they needed to function well in their society. The responsibility of the parent is to help the child learn about the environment, community and society they live in so that the child can grow up into a fully functional member of the community (MontessoriStudents). It is therefore important that children learn how to not only dress themselves but also how to keep their surroundings clean, how to cook and how to behave and interact with others around them.

So often today you find young parents are too busy to spend adequate time with their children in order to teach them basic life skills, instead you find young parents more concerned on their child’s academic performance. The Montessori curriculum can make up for this shortfall that unfortunately occurs due to our busy lifestyles. Montessori education can ensure that the child is given the right aids to life through the practical life exercises.

Bibliography
(n.d.). Retrieved May 14, 2014, from www.montmet.co.za: http://www.montmet.co.za/ (n.d.). Retrieved May 14, 2014, from www.sevencounties.org: http://sevencounties.org/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=7923&cn=28 DevelopmentalStages/Cognitive-Development. (n.d.). Retrieved 03 05, 2014, from www.aboutkidshealth.ca:
http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/En/HealthAZ/DevelopmentalStages/SchoolAgeChildren/Pages/Cognitive-Development.aspx DevelopmentalStages/Social-and-Emotional-Development. (n.d.). Retrieved 03 04, 2014, from http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca: http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/En/HealthAZ/DevelopmentalStages/SchoolAgeChildren/Pages/Social-and-Emotional-Development.aspx maria_montessori. (n.d.). Retrieved May 14, 2014, from www.brainyquote.com: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/m/maria_montessori.html (1995). Montessori.

(1995). In M. Montessori.
(1995). Absorbent mind. In M. Montessori, Absorbent mind. Henry Holt and company. (1995). The absorbent mind. In M. Montessori, The absorbent mind. Henry Holt and company. (1996). Secret ofChildhood. In M. Montessori, Secret of childhood. New York: Ballantine Books. (2010). The advanced Montessori Method. In M. Montessori, Spontaneous activity in education (p. 118). Amsterdam: Montessori-Pierson publishing company. MontessoriStudents. (n.d.). Retrieved May 14, 2014, from www.static.squarespace.com: http://static.squarespace.com/MontessoriStudents.jpg mymontessorimoments. (n.d.). Retrieved May 14, 2014, from www.mymontessorimoments.files.wordpress.com: http://mymontessorimoments.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/img_7100_2.jpg quotes/Maria_Montessori. (n.d.). Retrieved May 14, 2014, from www.goodreads.com: http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/34106.Maria_Montessori

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