Practical Montessori Exercises
The Montessori Method was conceived, studied, designed, and created to be made available to the child and their development.
As we mentioned previously, Dr. Montessori, went as far as instituting Children’s Homes with materials and specific activities with the sole purpose of enhancing their growth, autonomy, and freedom. During her careful and continuous study of children, Dr. Montessori realized that movement is the basis for everything.
It is for this reason that she designed and instituted the famous Montessori practical exercises in all Children's Homes.
HARMONY OF MOVEMENTS WITH MONTESSORI PRACTICE LIFE EXERCISES
All the routine activities that we adults carry out in practice without even thinking about it, appear to the child to be very interesting.
If the child is allowed to do them, these activities represent for him important "tasks" of practical and real-life.
- Moving a coffee table
- Carrying a chair
- Sitting and standing
- Closing and opening a door
- Setting and clearing the table, and washing the dishes
These are just a few examples of the many exercises called Practical Life that are entrusted to children in Montessori schools.
From what may seem like the simplest activity to the most complex, they are all practical exercises that develop, improve, and refine the child’s movements.
WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT TO PERFECT BABY'S MOVEMENTS?
There are many advantages that the child can obtain from a good mastery of their movements:
- Manual dexterity
- Safety within themselves and in the environment around them
Also, through Practical Life exercises, the child will also be able to develop his concentration and autonomy, which are fundamental parts of the principle of the Montessori method.
FROM WHAT AGE SHOULD A CHILD BEGIN PERFORMING MONTESSORI PRACTICAL LIFE EXERCISES?
These practical activities can be carried as early as the of two, both in school and at home. The more practice the child gets, the faster their movements will improve.
The daily repetition of the Practical Life exercises, inserted into their real routine, will be key to the positive growth of the child.
SUBDIVISION OF PRACTICAL LIFE EXERCISES
The great variety of Practical Life exercises that can be presented to the child can be divided into four groups:
- Self-Care Exercises
These are exercises that concern the child’s hygiene.
Here it is possible, especially at home, to make the child independent in their care and preparation. Let your child:
Wash their hands, face, and teeth
- Comb their hair
- Dress and undress
- Fasten and button
- Put on their shoes
Even the smallest of exercises are useful for the child to acquire mastery of movements, security, and independence.
- Environmental Care Exercises:
These activities are aimed at caring for the home and the environment in which the child lives.
At school, as well as at home, the child can:
- Set and clear the table
- Sweep the floor
- Wash dishes
- Rearrange out-of-place items
These are just a few examples of activities you can propose to your child. In addition to allowing them to improve their movement and coordination, these are exercises that make them more responsible.
- Fine Motor Skills Exercises
When the child has mastered basic movements well, more complex exercises will be introduced gradually to develop fine motor skills. For this purpose, you can use
- Lacing frames
- Exercises scissors and glue
- Different activities using wire
Also, an important group lesson will be introduced here: the exercise of silence.
This specific exercise will help to improve the child’s movement coordination and balance.
- Social Behavior Exercises
As adults, we often take good manners and appropriate behavior in society for granted or as something we were born with. However, it is important to teach children to:
- Say hello
- Speak in a low voice indoors
- Say thanks
- Pick up objects from the floor
- Tidy up
- Don't interrupt when a person is talking
At school, these exercises are often presented collectively. The aim to teach the child the right way to behave in society, develop self-control and emotion management.
THE ROLE OF THE ADULT IN PRACTICAL LIFE EXERCISES
For all these exercises to be successful, the adult must always put the child at the center of each activity.
- Do not interfere
- Present the exercises without overwhelming the child
- In some activities, also motivate the child
These are the activities that an adult must perform while educating a child according to the Montessori Method.
The child should always be the only protagonist in their activities.
It is only through experience, practice, and repetition that the child will be able to learn freely and in perfect autonomy.