Once the children are happy and settled within the nursery, these activities are the first “work exercises” to which a child will be introduced to within the Montessori curriculum.
We invite the child to perform various exercises such as sweeping, pouring, carrying, sorting and transferring. Through these activities they develop their concentration, attention to detail and good working habits, together with refining both their gross and fine motor skills. Many of the Practical Life Activities also prepare the child for later pencil work by fostering an anti-clockwise, left to right and top to bottom movement they are preparing for reading and writing.
At this stage I wish to define the word “Work” as it is often referred to at our school. “Work activities” are those which we invite the children to share which aim at promoting specific skills or which expand their knowledge. Within the nursery context the word “Work” should not be confused with the adult interpretation as being “something we do which may be enjoyable but often is done through necessity! “Work” at nursery is always fun and interesting!
Once the children have been shown the equipment and activities they are encouraged to choose freely as everything in the room is available to them.
These Practical Life activities promote care of the self, care of others and care of the environment and are therefore the perfect way to demonstrate how to encourage children to be healthy, safe, and aware of their own needs and the needs of others. They also elucidate how, in the Montessori environment children and teachers work together to maintain a safe and healthy classroom.