Thursday, November 04, 2010

Montessori Preschool Practical Life Activities: Following the Child...Gone Fishing!

NAMC montessori preschool practical life activities follow the child working with tweezers This year long series looks at the experiences of teachers, parents, students, and Montessori education itself, as we follow a student through his first year at a Montessori Preschool. The Montessori Insights and Reflections of a Preschool Student’s First Year is a collection of useful stories, tips, and information that has arisen from one real student's Montessori journey, viewed through the eyes of his Montessori Teacher, Bree Von Nes.

Fishing-themed Activities To Spark An Interest In Practical Life
It is always so interesting to follow a child’s lead and to find ways to spark their interest in the Montessori preschool classroom. Over the past few weeks, I have observed my three-year-old Montessori student Jordan gravitate to the blocks and building material day after day.

I certainly understand the benefit of working with sensorial materials such as these. However, I have been hoping to observe Jordan take more of an interest in the Montessori Practical Life activities as they are especially beneficial to a young student in this sensitive period of development.

Montessori Preschool Practical Life Activities: Following the Child...Gone Fishing!

The direct aim of Montessori Practical Life Activities is to assist the child in developing social skills and personal independence. The indirect aim is to develop the child’s gross and fine motor movement, which involves the body, intellect and will. At this age, students are particularly sensitive to order and counting, and the Practical Life activities in the Montessori environment are also designed to address these skills.
Jordan always has fishing stories to share, has taken a particular interest in our classroom fish (Monty), and he loves books about ocean creatures. Keeping this in mind, I decided to create some “fishing activities” to try to generate his interest in the Montessori Practical Life curriculum. It worked like a charm and the activities I created include the following:

1) Tong Transferring with Fabric Fish. I found the cutest little fabric fish (in all different colors) and placed them in a wooden bowl along with a pair of tongs and a miniature fish bowl. The look on Jordan’s face as he places the fish into their home (mini fish bowl) is priceless.

2) Spooning with Fish Containers. During a trip to the local thrift store, I came across the most adorable little fish containers and created a spooning work using two fish containers and some dry lentils that look like fish bubbles. Jordan loves transferring the bubbles from one fish container to the other.

NAMC montessori preschool practical life activities follow the child tray
3) Suction Fish and Marbles. On a tray, I placed a suction cup fish along with a container of marbles, and a pair of tweezers. Jordan showed such concentration transferring each marble onto the individual suction cup.

As a Montessori teacher, a great deal of time and effort goes into following each individual child but when the outcome is so positive, the feeling is indescribable! I am pleased to report that Jordan is now gravitating to the Montessori Practical Life shelves daily and enjoys all the “works” not just the fish related activities.
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, November 4, 2010.


  1. I enjoyed reading how you observed something the child was interested in "not in the classroom" and created some work. Building with blocks is very popular at my school too. I will look closely for other things the child is indicating an interest in and try your suggestion here. Adios!


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