Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Montessori Practical Life: 19 Months

According to Montessori theories of child development, children start demonstrating a readiness for practical life activities between 15 and 18 months. I feel badly that I haven't sufficiently supported Tate's development in this area. He's definitely ready! The other day I handed him the pizza sauce and the spreader, and he applied the sauce to our pizza crust. He can also transfer laundry into the machine, carry a child-sized basket from the bedroom to the washer and dryer, and put away his clothes and shoes. I bet he would even help wash the dishes if I could muster up the patience and time to support him! It's amazing what little children can do. They are capable of so much. It's easy to let months go by before realizing they are capable of something because they grow faster than our perceptions of them do. 

Supporting children to engage in practical life activities around the home does so much. It helps them develop focus and concentration. It helps them master the ability to follow multiple-step directions, which prepares their brain for future academic learning. Further, it helps them develop a profound sense of self and confidence that comes through feeling competent. They learn that they can interact with the world around them and have an impact on it.

This article is a great overview of the benefits of Practical Life activities! 

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katie joe said...

I wasn't very familiar with the Montessori philosophy before I started reading your blog, but you made it seem so appealing. So, I did research and fell in a sort of love. It just makes so much sense and is aligned with many of my values. Now that I am in the thick of occupational therapy school, I am even more appreciative. The two philosophies are so compatible, and what little understanding and knowledge of Montessori I have is helping me trudge through this challenging pediatric class. There's no real point to my comment except to thank you for starting this ball rolling for me. You're an inspiration!

Sara E. Cotner said...

Thanks for your kind words, Katie Joe! The Occupational Therapist who comes to our school had never seen Montessori either. Now that she's been in and out of so many classrooms, she says that it's an approach to education that makes so much sense based on child development.

Lauren said...

I agree with katie joe--you make Montessori principles very accessible and practical.

My son is close in age to Tate (he'll be two in May). Will you write about how you introduce/teach some of these practical skills? He helps me with the laundry and the silverware. We've been trying sweeping and putting on his shoes, but I want to make sure I'm creating the right mix of independence and guidance. Also, what are some other areas we can be sharing with him? Bathing, meal prep, etc. Maybe could we see "a day in the life of"? Thanks!

I enjoy your blog a lot. I read your wedding blog when I was engaged and then migrated over here. I'm an educator and a mom and a learner, so I always walk away with something. Thanks!

Jessica Reyna Brogan said...

I haven't checked in with your blog in far too long!! After reading this post, I want to thank you for showing an in-depth look at Montessori from a real world perspective. What I previously knew of Montessori teaching principles always interested me, but seeing how you implement them in your home has helped me to do the same, although not as skillfully. My husband and I have always allowed our now 30 month old son to help around the house and to experiment with tasks. It is truly amazing how much he is able to do on his own and with minimal supervision. Thanks for the inspiration!

bryan flake said...

That is so great that your son can help with the laundry like that. I can definitely see how that would be a great asset of skills for better academic learning. It makes me wish I had a child of my own, so that I could teach them practical skills like this that will help in the academic and everyday parts of life.

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