“The exercises of practical life are formative activities, a work of adaptation to the environment. Such adaptation to the environment and efficient functioning therein is the very essence of a useful education.”
- Maria Montessori
In our toddler Montessori environment, the practical life area, which is also known as daily living, is frequented by each child. Located near the entrance of our classroom, it invites the child into the space with materials that allow them to carry out the activities they see the adults in their lives performing. These tasks include pouring, sweeping, polishing, feeding the fish, dish washing, dressing and undressing, food preparation, folding laundry, window washing and flower arranging. Not only do these tasks give the child a sense of belonging and real purpose, but they are secretly preparing the mind for the more academic work down the road by building concentration and their sense of order. Practical life materials also build executive functioning skills like working memory, inhibitory control and cognitive flexibility.
The children in Toddler 2 have been embracing the practical life materials and exercises in our classroom! They are becoming more and more familiar with the purpose of each material and even using them to help each other; for example, bringing another child a washcloth after spilling, finding the hand broom and dustpan for some corn that has escaped the sensory bin. Almost daily, a child will arrange flowers and place the vase and coaster at the table for us all to enjoy while eating, as shown by Clay in the picture above. Dressing and undressing is a task we have been working on very hard in Toddler 2 and is an activity you can easily work on at home, too.
We even had a parent come in to prepare pumpkin curry soup for our weekly cooking activity. The children loved helping prepare the soup by turning the crank on the can opener, scooping the pumpkin puree into the pot, stirring the ingredients together, pouring the coconut milk and, of course, enjoying the delicious soup upon completion. Thank you, Sean! What a treat!
Speaking of pumpkins, we have been embracing the changing of the seasons in Toddler 2. Children are taking notice of our maple tree losing its leaves, the cooler temperatures and observing how the trees sway as gusts of wind move through their branches. Children have been removing corn from the cob and seeds from the sunflower heads in the sensory bin, hauling the pumpkins and gourds from place to place, and stamping paint with leftover corn cobs. Over the next weeks, we will be talking about things we are thankful for and continuing to observe our changing outdoor scenery. Please continue sending hats, mittens and warm coats (and soon, snow pants and boots) as we will be going outside every day! Thank you!
Amanda Isaksson, Sarah O’Farrell, Acadia Prestidge and Jill Jaworski
Thursday, November 21: Parent/Teacher Conferences – School Closed (Sign-up sheet posted 11/14)
Wednesday – Friday, November 27 – 29: School Closed for Thanksgiving