How Can You Introduce Practical Life Activities to Children?
Practical Life is the foundation of a Montessori program. It is the gateway to learning for young children and such a simple yet important part of a child’s early years!
We usually start children doing practical life work and tasks around the age of 18 months. Some children will begin showing interest a little earlier or a little later. Use this chart as a guide for things that are appropriate to introduce your child to during certain stages and age brackets. We’re sure that you’ll find many other activities to do with your child too as you follow his/her lead!
The Importance of Giving Lessons
Giving lessons or allowing a child to observe gives him/her opportunities to “practice” the task and are key elements in Montessori environments.
- Prepare the environment or work/tasks that you are introducing
- Give the lesson
- Stand back and observe
We like to work alongside our children when appropriate like while doing dishes, folding laundry, etc. We work on the task without giving much input to how our child is doing his/her task so that they can practice with confidence.
Remember, only step in when your child asks for help or they are doing something that could be dangerous. Let them explore as much as possible.
Also….and this can be a tough one but, resist the urge to refold the towels or rewash the dishes. Allow your child time to learn themselves even if the steps and movements aren’t quite there yet… They will come! Practice makes perfect. Well, perfect for them and their growth and learning that is.
You’re a Guide
Finally, keep in mind that most activities that you will do with Toddler aged children (18 months- 3 years) will be done with guidance from the adult. Once a lesson is given, work alongside your child giving guidance as necessary but still allowing for a lot of freedom of movement. As they near the age of 3, they will be very comfortable with these tasks and will be able to do them with very little to no adult guidance. This is where Maria Montessori’s words of, “Help me do it myself,” comes into play.
To learn more about Practical Life in Montessori check out our post, The Importance of Practical Life.