Exercises of Practical Life
“The Exercises of Practical Life are formative activities, a work of adaptation to the environment. Such adaptation to the environment and efficient functioning therein is the very essence of a useful education.” – Maria Montessori
Care of self: Children, however young, love to be busy and fruitfully occupied. Activities to help with care of self, such as dressing frames, washing hands, and eating independently are some examples. Care of self also focuses on personal hygiene and the introduction of toileting if a child is not already toilet trained.
Care of the environment: Children learn to take care of their environment easily if such caring is part of their daily lives. Various activities and experiences prepare them for this purpose, like looking after plants, sweeping, mopping, dusting and polishing. They take great joy in such work. They also learn that they are part of a group, a community, and that the environment is shared by all of them. Simple food preparation activities involving slicing, chopping, peeling and mixing, not only develop useful skills but also confidence and self-esteem. Children like to help prepare the food they eat and also share it with those around them.
The activities offered present opportunities for the development of rich language experiences and also sensory inputs — such as an understanding of taste, aroma and texture, along with so much more. The experiences are real, using real implements and tools, for a real purpose.
Furthermore, everything is designed based on the child’s needs, to match their size, and is easily accessible, keeping safety in mind.
Grace and courtesy: Respect and courtesy come together to strengthen and enable good interpersonal relationships … learning how to say please and thank you, how to wait one's turn, how not to disturb another child while they are working and how to be a constructive and helpful member of a community. The Exercises of Practical Life help with coordination, concentration, orderly work habits, responsibility and independence.
These activities help children to refine their movements, both large and fine. The large movements include walking, running, jumping, climbing, carrying objects, and various whole hand movements. The finer movements involve the wrist and fingers, strengthening the pincer and tripod grip and activities for eye-hand coordination. All these activities for both large and fine movements indirectly help cognitive skills and logical reasoning. Children explore, manipulate and arrive at conclusions.
Language and Communication
Young children ‘absorb’ language effortlessly and must be given opportunities to develop and expand their vocabularies, visual acuity, listening and conversational skills. This happens through a collaborative effort in a stimulating and nurturing environment, with the exchanging of ideas and thoughts through various activities such as naming, matching, sorting, painting, singing, music, and both one on one and group interaction.
A Continuing Journey
Every step prepares children for the next part of their learning journey. We endeavour to provide experiences that develop the senses, enrich vocabulary and give children the power of communication, along with their physical growth and coordination.
The Montessori environment gives every child time to repeat and master activities in a productive way, make discoveries and build relationships. Around the age of 2 ½ to 3 years, we see a blossoming and indications of the readiness to transition to the Preprimary.