The Practical Life Exercises

Decorative Wave

Dr. Montessori wrote, “A child’s work is to create the man he will become.  An adult works to perfect the environment but a child works to perfect himself.” Using the child’s natural inclination as a point of departure, Dr. Montessori structured several exercises for the classroom to help the child satisfy their need for meaningful activity.  

At Arbor View Montessori we introduce exercises with that include familiar objects like buttons, brushes, dishes, pitchers, water and many other things which the child may recognize from his or her home experience.

For the young child, there is something special about tasks which an adult considers ordinary like washing dishes, paring vegetables, and polishing shoes.  They are exciting to the child because they allow him or her to imitate adults.  Imitation is one of the child’s strongest urges during his or her early years.

The Practical Life Exercises may seem simple and commonplace, but they are actually a very important part of the Montessori program and a child’s development.  Each of the tasks helps the child to perfect his or her coordination so that he or she will be able to work later with the more intricate academic materials.

Several of the Practical Life Exercises that you will not find at a typical Child Care Center, Daycare, or Preschool that you will find at Arbor View Montessori involve the use of water with which most children naturally like to play.  Carrying the water in a pitcher and pouring it into a basin helps the child to perfect his coordination.  As the child becomes absorbed in an activity such as scrubbing a table top, he or she gradually lengthens his or her span of coordination.  Children learn to pay attention to details as he or she follows a regular sequence of action.  Finally, the child learns good working habits and finishes each task and puts away all the materials before beginning another activity.