Archive for the practical life Category

It’s a Practical Life!

Hello Friends!

In her book, The Absorbent Mind, Dr. Maria Montessori wrote, “To have a vision of the cosmic plan, in which every form of life depends on directed movements which have effects beyond their conscious aim, is to understand the child’s work and be able to guide it better.” Today we’re going to talk about one of our pouring lessons from the Practical Life Avenue so that you may better understand the work of our students.

Fundamental work takes place in the Avenue of Practical Life in a Montessori classroom. It is comprised of lessons that enable children to practice and master basic life skills (pouring, squeezing, twisting, etc.) that contribute to a successful, independent future. Each Practical Life lesson falls under one of the four main areas:

1) Control of Movement

2) Care of Person

3) Care of Environment

4) Grace and Courtesy

When children choose to work with a pouring lesson, they are specifically honing in on their control of movement. Pictured below is a pouring lesson that is currently living on one of our Practical Life shelves.


This lesson tasks children with equally distributing the dry materials in the pitcher to the two smaller cups. While working with this lesson, our students develop a sense of order, fine motor control, hand-eye coordination, independence, and concentration.

A lot goes into designing a lesson like this one. The whole lesson (tray and all) must be functional, aesthetically pleasing, proportional to the children, complete, color coordinated, safe, clean, cost efficient/easily replaced, developmentally appropriate for all of the children, organized, applied to real life, culturally relevant, appeal to the interests of the children, follow a step-by-step sequence, and include a control of error so that the children may feel more independent and self sufficient. During the creation of the lesson pictured above, everything from the position of the pitcher to the color of the tray was considered. You will notice that the pitcher handle is facing outward. This is because we have students who are dominantly right-handed and left-handed. This lesson wouldn’t cater to all of our students needs if it was one way or the other. You may also notice that the tray is red. This is because this lesson was made available to our students around Valentine’s Day and it coordinates with the other lessons on this Practical Life shelf. The red tray also matches the red flowers on the small cups.

The Practical Life Avenue is such a fundamental part of our classroom. By practicing carefully prepared lessons that focus on specific skills like pouring, our students are able to make physical, social/emotional, and cognitive gains through their new-found skills and independence.

May the long time sun shine upon you,

IMG_3603Ashley, Bethany, and Emily