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Why Practical Life Activities?

Even the best-informed Montessori parent may wonder whether the practical life activities may be using up time better spent on academic pursuits.

Practical life activities may well be the most important work in the 3 – 6 classroom! These activities relate to the child’s overall development. The primary goal is not the mastery of these PL activities. Instead, these activities lead a child to make intelligent choices and become physically and mentally independent and responsible. The child learns to concentrate, control muscles, move and act with care, focus, analyze logical steps, and complete a cycle of activity.

This is the foundation for mental and physical work in all other areas, not just in early childhood but also throughout life. Children follow a sequence of prescribed directions, which include choosing the work on the shelf, finding a space at a table, following steps to complete the task, cleaning up, and replacing the work exactly where it belongs on the shelf so it is ready for the next child to use. It is the small muscle coordination, motor sequencing, and inner discipline leading to good social skills, work habits and ultimately self-esteem, which are so important and directly prepare for and support development in math, reading and writing.

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