In the Montessori lower and upper elementary environments, teachers often offer practical life activities and materials for sewing, quilting, knitting, and crocheting. Working on these handicrafts, students learn useful skills with real-life applications and also strengthen their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
Sewing for Charity as a Montessori Elementary Practical Life Activity
Some children are naturally drawn to sewing and others may need a little motivation to get started. Like anything else, having a sense of purpose is important not only for beginning, but also for finishing a task. Sewing can be a very rewarding pastime, but it becomes much more than that when the products of one’s time and talents are used to help others.
Today, there are many charitable organizations that welcome hand-sewn items for people in need. And the items need not be expensive or fancy. What is most important is that the students are helping others in their community. Being able to contribute to the welfare of others also satisfies the students’ need for community awareness that is prevalent in the second plane of development.
With the winter holidays approaching, this is a great time for your students to come together as a community and decide which projects they would like to carry out. Once they have chosen a project, they will have to determine what supplies they will need and how they will gather them. Will they ask for donated material or will new materials be purchased? How will they earn the money to purchase what they need? How much time do they need to gather the supplies and then to complete the projects? Will they need the help of adult volunteers?
Making these decisions and completing the related tasks together further develops the students’ sense of community, increases their independence, and can give students practice working with money and with math skills such as estimating, measuring, and calculating.
From knitting caps for preemies and newborns to sewing wheelchair and walker caddies for seniors, elementary-age children can help others in the larger community in a variety of ways while at the same time honing their own skills and building self-awareness and self-confidence.
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© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Thursday, October 24, 2013.