Discuss the principle underlying the Practical Life exercises and how it fosters independence in children

2257 words 10 pages
Discuss the principle underlying the Practical Life exercises and how it fosters independence in children.
What is Practical Life exercise? Practical life exercise means the basic everyday life, all the things we need to for daily living. Dr Maria Montessori felt that children need to be shown and given opportunities so that they learn how to do everyday living activities in a purposeful way. “The child can only develop by means of experience in his environment. We call such experience work.” – Maria Montessori Children prefer to work than to play and they can only be in their natural self, when their natural self is satisfied through work. It’s also through work they acquire concentration, co-ordination, control, independence and
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In order to gain independence, the child needs to establish will and discipline in order. Some of the activities in this category are on how to dress himself and stay clean by washing himself, hands, face, feet as well as his belongings, shoes, napkins and etc. Between the age of 2½ to 6 years old, the child is in a sensitive period for the learning of good manners. The exercises of ‘Social Grace and Courtesy’ are focused on developing will power, establish a proper posture, greet people, excuse one and interrupt when necessary. Maria Montessori considers the social grace and courtesy activities as the most important exercises in the practical life curriculum. She felt that when children are first brought into a Montessori classroom, emphasis must be placed on social grace exercise.
Role of a Directress The first stage of Practical Life exercise is the role of a Directress. The directress introduces the exercise by telling the child its name and purpose and showing the child where to find the materials, how to carry them to a workspace and how to lay them out ready to start. The directress demonstrates how to do the activity, step by step. The sequence of steps is choreographed and rehearsed by the teacher beforehand. Each movement is well defined, very slow and clearly distinguishable from the next so the child can see exactly how it is executed. While presenting the exercise, the directress’s attention focuses, not on the child, but on the activity, in this


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