Greystone House Montessori Schools Houston, Texas. Child care Montessori provider in Champions, The Woodlands, Spring Texas Greystone House Montessori Schools Houston
Editorial Archives
Sometimes it’s hard to justify the expense of Montessori education when the child comes home day after day bragging that he mopped the floor today. Practical life exercises constitute the most basic level of the Montessori curriculum. It is important to keep in mind that mastery of the task itself is not the primary goal of these exercises; whether the child actually learns to properly arrange the knife, fork, and spoon on the placemat is not the issue. It is, rather, the small muscle coordination, motion sequencing, inner discipline, and ultimately, the understanding of personal competence and contribution which makes these routines such a fundamental building block of early Montessori education.

A child’s love of practical life routines, Dr. Montessori believed, stems from a biological need to gain coordination. That need is especially strong between the ages of 3 and 6 years. In a prepared environment filled with interesting motives for activity, the child can respond repeatedly to her inner need to develop her motor skills until they are on a par with her imagination. As she chooses and performs a variety of practical life exercises, the youngster develops eye/hand coordination, upper body strength, balance, and spatial perception. It is no coincidence that these are basic prerequisites to successfully learning to write, to read, and to have a deep understanding of mathematical concepts.

Exercises of practical life have in common another important characteristic: ordered movement. Each exercise consists of a set of actions to be completed in a certain sequence. As the teacher presents the exercise to the child, she breaks the task down into its basic components and points out how one step logically flows into the next. Dividing the task into parts heightens the child’s interest as it underscores the challenge and complexity of the process. It also gives him the chance to celebrate his success each step of the way.

At home, you can teach your child to help with some of these tasks, gradually moving from the simplest to the more complex: • place napkins, plates, and silverware on the table

• give a choice of two different foods

• make a grocery list and help shop

• choose today’s clothing according to the weather

• make a simple meal and clean up afterward

• hang clothes in the closet

• fold clothes and put them in the drawer

• help sort laundry

Like a house, the child’s life is built of all these individual bricks. It’s up to us to make sure each one is as strong as it can be.