When a child first enters a Montessori Nursery School they work with activities known to us as Practical Life Activities, these help to develop the child’s ability to look after themselves and their environment.
The children work with materials specifically designed for them which are always child sized but real such as small glass jugs. The children are also encouraged to use other activities which are scaled down versions of real equipment such as, dustpan and brush, shoe polishing, sorting clothes and folding them, pegging out washing and they learn to wash up their snack plates and cups.
Children learn to pour by using small jugs filled with dry beans or rice before progressing onto jugs containing water. Spoons, tongs, tweezers, scoops and chopsticks are used to learn to transfer from bowl to bowl. They can practice dressing skills by using the specially made dressing frames which allow them to try zips, buttons, prestuds, velcro, buckles and bows.
In our Montessori class room the children learn to prepare fruit and vegetables for snack, lay the table, pour their own drink and are encouraged to tidy away after themselves. Montessori has found that children working with these real materials (Practical Life) which involve both hand and mind together develop a greater capacity to concentrate, which is fantastic preparation for the child’s later learning.