I began teaching in the Montessori upper elementary environment two years later and was surprised and saddened to see that my classroom had no Practical Life materials. When I approached my level leader, she told me that by upper elementary there really was no need for Practical Life activities. I politely yet resolutely disagreed.
Elementary Montessori Practical Life Activities Explained: Independence and ResponsibilityPurpose
The purpose of the Montessori Practical Life activities is to help children develop their independence so that they may become fully capable and responsible adults. The Montessori elementary Practical Life curriculum is a continuation of the practical life skills presented and practiced in the primary classroom. Skills pertaining to care of self, care of environment and living things, along with grace and courtesy are still important; however, these activities now begin to take the children outside of the classroom and into the greater community. While the activities may change, these skills are just as important in the upper elementary, middle school, and even high school years.
The exercises in Practical Life also serve an important social purpose. Children become more self aware which helps them develop empathy and sensitivity to others. It is because of this greater sensitivity to others that community service projects are a big part of the upper elementary Practical Life curriculum. Additionally, Practical Life activities help foster self-discipline, self-reliance as well as teaching children how to concentrate and cooperate.
trips to the craft store over the weekend.
Is there a place for Practical Life work in the upper elementary Montessori classroom? You bet there is! Over the next few weeks I’ll be writing more about what types of activities to bring into your upper elementary Practical Life area. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions, please feel free to post them!
Practical Life resources from NAMC:
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Friday, October 23, 2009.