Thursday, May 19, 2011

Montessori Upper Elementary Practical Life: Indoor Activities

NAMC montessori upper elementary practical life indoor activities sewing machine
I remember walking into my first upper elementary Montessori classroom. The director showed me around my new classroom, pointing out the Montessori materials on the shelves. It was a beautiful environment with an entire wall of windows. Before she left, I asked the director where the Practical Life shelves where. Her response? “Upper elementary children don’t need Practical Life activities”.

Not need Practical Life activities? How can that be? I started thinking about my Montessori training. The purpose of Montessori Practical Life Activities is to develop the skills needed to be an independent adult and lead a happy and fulfilled life. Were my 9-12 year olds fully independent adults? Certainly not! I decided to add a Practical Life section to my upper elementary classroom right away.

Montessori Upper Elementary Practical Life: Indoor Activities

Upper elementary Practical Life activities are quite different from preschool or even lower elementary. Yes, you may have to have a refresher on how to wipe a table or how to walk around a rug since upper elementary students are no longer in the sensitive period for order. They are, however, interested in making things with an end product in mind. They like to feel needed and appreciated. Whether they are making and frosting a cake or knitting a scarf for a friend, upper elementary students want to know they have made a difference.

Here are some ideas for indoor upper elementary Practical Life activities:
  • Using a sewing machine
  • Quilting (quilts may be donated to charities such as community shelters or Habitat for Humanity)
  • Knitting (hospitals are always looking for small blankets and hats for premature infants)
  • Assembling furniture
  • Woodworking
  • Latch hooking
  • Fixing leaky faucets
  • Doing laundry
  • Changing furnace filters
  • Newborn and toddler care
  • Needlework (this also works great at helping students having difficulty with handwriting develop those fine muscle skills)
  • Creating a website
  • Transferring photos to digital images
  • Downloading music from CDs to MP3 files
  • Visiting a shut-in
  • Reading with younger children
NAMC montessori upper elementary practical life indoor activities using a computerPractical Life activities foster responsibility and independence. Looking at the list above, how many typical 9-12 year old children would be given such responsibility? Learning to plan and follow through is an important part of growing up to be a responsible adult.

More ideas on Montessori upper elementary Practical Life activities will be covered in the next post, Upper Elementary Practical Life: Outdoor Activities.

Related NAMC blogs:
    As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community.
    © North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Thursday, May 19, 2011.

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