At Home #6: Practical Life (PL)

Montessori House students of all ages love Practical Life (PL).  For our youngest students, a large part of their time is spent on PL.  Practical Life lessons are all demonstration and imitation.  By doing PL, children learn the concept of a “work”: having a lesson, getting it from the shelf, working (only as instructed), mastery, and clean-up.  An important aspect of Montessori education is engaging the whole child (physical and mental) to reinforce learning, as occurs with PL works.  Starting with PL, children establish a set of habits and a framework for further learning, as they become capable of lessons in other areas like math (numbers), and reading (sounds, letters, etc.), and more.

Why Practical Life?

  1. Children desire order, repetition, and succession in movements. PL gives them that.
  2. Children like to do what they see others do. PL lets them do that.
  3. Children want to feel successful. PL helps them feel that.
  4. Children enjoy being calm for periods of time. PL leads them to that.
  5. Children of all ages enjoy and benefit from practicing fine and gross motor skills, life skills, patience and persistence that leads to success, dealing appropriately with frustration, and having fun. PL allows all of that to happen.

Making Your Own Practical Life Work Area

Check out this site for information and examples of Montessori Practical Life:

  1. Click on each of the photos in “Fine Motor” and “Care of the Environment”.
  2. Each photo represents a PL work.  When you click on the photo, you’ll have a menu for the work: look first at “Presentation” for each  work.
  3. Also look at “Variations and Extensions” for easy ways to make more of the same.
  4. Once you’ve made some works, change the containers, materials, contents, etc. regularly to keep your child interested.

Other EASY PL Works can be found at these links:

  1. Placing coins in small, easy-to-open piggy banks
  2. 3-D Cereal-box puzzle (You can make flat cereal-box puzzles, too!)
  3. Theme-based sensory bins/boxes
  4. Variety of fine motor works
  5. Button ribbon (practice buttoning/fine motor)
  6. Variety of fine motor works
  7. Variety of works
  8. Variety of fine motor works

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