Montessori AMI Primary Guide
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Preliminary Exercises
  Carrying a Mat
  Unrolling/Rolling a Mat
  Carrying a Chair
  Sit and Stand from a Chair
  Carrying a Table
  Carrying a Tray
  Carrying a Jug
  Geometric Cabinet Tray
  Carrying a Sharp object
  Opening a Door
  Removing a Book
  Opening a Book
  Turning pages of a Book
  Opening Bottles
  Opening Boxes
  Folding Cloths
  Spooning Grains
  Pouring Grains
Care of the Person
  Washing Hands
  Dressing Frame
    Hook and Eye
   Safety Pins
  Polishing Shoes
  Preparing a Snack
Care of The Environment
  Washing a Chalkboard
  Dusting a Table
  Washing a Table
  Polishing Wood
  Polishing Glass
  Arranging Flowers
  Washing Cloths
  Setting a Table
  Wet Mopping
  Dust Mopping
  Outdoor Sweeping
Grace and Courtesy
  Greeting a Person
  Thank You
  Excuse Me
  Introduction of One's Self
  Offering Help
  Expressing Admiration
Control of Movement
  Walking on the Line
  Silence Game

Introduction to Practical Life

What is Practical Life

Practical: means basic, useful, purposeful
Life: means the way of living.

Practical life Exercises are just that, they are Exercises so the child can learn how to do living activities in a purposeful way.

Meaning and Purpose of Practical Life

The purpose and aim of Practical Life is to help the child gain control in the coordination of his movement, and help the child to gain independence and adapt to his society. It is therefore important to “Teach teaching, not correcting” (Montessori) in order to allow the child to be a fully functionional member in hios own society. Practical Life Exercises also aid the growth and development of the child’s intellect and concentration and will in turn also help the child develop an orderly way of thinking.

Exercice Groups

Practical Life Exercises can be categorized into four different groups: Preliminary Applications, Applied Applications, Grace and Courtesy, and Control of Moment.

In the Preliminary Exercises, the child learns the basic movements of all societies such as pouring, folding, and carrying.

In the Applied Exercises, the child learns about the care and maintenance that helps every day life. These activities are, for example, the care of the person (i.e the washing of the hand) and the care of the environment (i.e dusting a table or outdoor sweeping).

In the Grace and Courtesy Exercises, the children work on the interactions of people to people.

In the Control of Movement Exercises, the child learns about his own movements and learns how to refine his coordination through such activities as walking on the line.

Reason for Practical Life Exercises

Children are naturally interested in activities they have witnessed. Therefore, Dr. Montessori began using what she called “Practical Life Exercises” to allow the child to do activities of daily life and therefore adapt and orientate himself in his society.

It is therefore the Directress’s task to demonstrate the correct way of doing these Exercises in a way that allows the child to fully observe the movements. Montessori says, “If talking don’t move, if moving don’t talk”.

The directress must also keep in mind that the goal is to show the actions so that the child can go off and repeat the activity in his own successful way. Montessori says, “Our task is to show how the action is done and at the same time destroy the possibility of imitation”. The child must develop his own way of doing these activities so that the movements become real and not synthetic.

During the child’s sensitive period between birth and 6, the child is constructing the inner building blocks of his person. It is therefore important for the child to participate in activities to prepare him for his environment, that allow him to grow independently and use his motor skills, as well as allow the child to analyze difficulties he may have in the exercise and problem solve successfully.

Montessori also saw the child’s need for order, repetition, and succession in movements. Practical Life Exercises also helps to aid the child to develop his coordination in movement, his balance and his gracefulness in his environment as well as his need to develop the power of being silent.

Characteristics of Practical Life

Because Practical Life Exercises are meant to resemble everyday activities, it is important that all materials be familiar, real, breakable, and functional. The materials must also be related to the child’s time and culture. In order to allow the child to fully finish the exercise and to therefore finish the full cycle of the activity, the material must be complete.

In the environment, the Directress may want to color code the materials as well as arrange the materials based on difficulties in order to facilitate the classification and arrangements of the work by the children.

The attractiveness is also of utmost importance as Montessori believed that the child must be offered what is most beautiful and pleasing to the eye so as to help the child enter into a “more refined and subtle world”.

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Montessori Primary Guide

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