According to Maria Montessori, “we should aim at helping the children to help themselves; enabling them in every emergency to act independently of the adult – thus becoming master of their environment and conscious of their power over it.” The exercises of Practical life are at the very heart of the Montessori education. The Practical Life exercises help children attain the independence they crave. Practical Life curriculum is carefully divided into four main areas: Caring for the Self, Caring for the Environment, Grace & Courtesy and Control of movement. Each area is vital in the development of the child as a whole.
Caring for Oneself - These activities are aimed at helping the child become independent. Depending on the age group, these range from learning to wash hands, putting on clothes, pouring, carrying and folding.
Caring for the Environment – These activities are aimed at helping the child learn and care for the environment. Children learn and take joy in everyday activities such as sweeping, dusting a table, setting a table and arranging flowers.
Grace and Courtesy – Children learn manners and appropriate behavior in different social settings. Teachers role-play and teach how a child should incorporate grace and courtesy in everyday scenarios such as greeting another person, asking for permission and helping a classmate.
Control of Movement – These activities are based on the Montessori idea of ‘Walking on the line.’ Through these activities children learn the capabilities of their own bodies and how to control them.