A significant part of the Primary day at Tuckahoe Montessori is devoted to learning how to take care of our environment and ourselves. In the classroom all the children are responsible for keeping the space beautiful. Supplies such as towels, sponges, brooms, and vacuums are always available for students to use during the day. They really enjoy keeping the room clean and orderly. Helping one another gives children the chance to practice grace and courtesy. Taking pride in the way their classroom looks and runs builds a strong sense of community and belonging. Being able to maintain a clean, beautiful environment and learning skills to care for themselves gives them an immediate feeling of pride and accomplishment as well as building important life skills.
Every task — zipping up their own coats, using nice table manners, vacuuming the classroom — brings deep satisfaction. While this feeling of achievement is present in many aspects of our school, nowhere is it more evident than in our Practical Life area of the classrooms. Here the children can practice performing tasks such as folding, water pouring and table setting, with their confidence in their own ability growing more with each effort. Many children then take these skills into mealtime (in their classrooms or in the Lunch Bunch Room) where they practice setting their place, using table manners, and cleaning up with their friends every day.
These practical life skills and the grace and courtesy that can accompany them easily translate to the home where there are many ways parents can create and encourage these opportunities for children. You might ask your child to demonstrate the practical life skills they are learning at school and watch their joy at sharing what they know. Consider inviting them to help prepare a meal, set the table, or participate in household chores. These are simple and highly effective ways to promote their confidence and abilities through care of their environment and their family!
Here are some great resources that may help you to bring Practical Life into your own home:
Contributed by Sara Cornett and the staff of TMS