Today's highlight was practical life exercise, the exercises that make a child can learn how to do living activities in a purposeful way[^1]. In Montessori, practical life is one of the area that a child need to master. Practical life exercise help a child to coordinate their movement, help the child to gain independence, and later adapt to the society.

Practical life exercise can be categorised into four groups:

  • Preliminary exercises: the child learns the basic movements of all societies such as pouring, folding, and carrying.
  • Applied exercises: the child learns about the care and maintenance that helps every day life. For example the care of the person (e.g. the washing of the hand) and the care of the environment (e.g. dusting a table or outdoor sweeping).
  • Grace and courtesy exercises: the children work on the interactions of people to people.
  • 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.

Today we did practical life exercise in preliminary category: opening bottles, insert a key into padlock, and help mama to organise threads and bobbins on the thread organiser.

Playing With Padlock

I placed several tools for Alula's practical life activities on her shelves by purpose. During everyday play, I don't direct her what to play, but following her of what she want to play. I let her to take the lead of her everyday activity. A padlock and its key has been there for several days, but she hasn't touch it until today.

Suddenly this afternoon she take the padlock and play with it. She struggled for a while try to figure out how it works. I approached her and give her the example on how she can insert the key into the padlock and turn it to open the lock. To lock, I gave her the example on how to press the padlock into the hole.

After one example, Lulu could already insert the key into the padlock. However, she couldn't turn the key yet as it was a bit hard.

So focused and determined to unlock

Alula was so into the padlocks. She spent quite some time playing with it and so focused on it. She wasn't even notice when I called her name. After a while, she run into our main door. To my surprise, Lulu tried to insert the padlock's key into the door's key hole. I was so surprised that Lulu has been able to understand the concept of lock and unlock.

Lulu tried to unlock the door using the padlock's key

Open and Close (a) Bottle(s)

The second activity was opening bottles. Again, this activity was self direct. After done with the padlock, she take the bottles from her shelf. I helped her to lay a mat as her 'working area'. At first she struggled to open the bottle lid, as they are the screw type. I think that it will take sometime for her to be able to twist the lid until it released from the bottle.

So, I assisted her to open all the bottle lids. Without command, Lulu grabbed one bottle and one lid. Then she started to place the lid on top of the bottle trying to close it. Of course the bottle wasn't really closed. The lid was just placed on top of it, which actually could fall anytime :D

Seeing her hands are full with the bottle, I told her, "Lulu, why don't we put all the bottles that are closed on the shelf?". Then she directly put the bottle onto the shelf. Lulu repeated the activity until she finished "closing" about 5 out of 6 bottles available. Not bad :)

The closing bottle activity

Organising Threads and Bobbins

This activity was actually quite spontaneous. I was setting up my sewing quarter as I am starting a new project. Then this little cutie pie suddenly came into the room and asked to sit on my chair. I lifted her and she sit on my lap. She kept pointing to my thread organiser. Maybe Lulu was curious with the colourful threads. Ok, why don't we make it fun? I thought.

I put the thread organiser in front of us and started to describe what it is and their colours. Lulu was stunned, maybe it was the first time she saw colourful threads. Yes, Mama has been taking a break from crafting since she was born :). Besides describing colours, I also managed to show her how to organise threads. I took out one thread from the organiser and put it again.

Lulu paid attention carefully. As soon as I put the thread, she reached one bobbin, took it out from the organiser and put it back. Aha! another posting activity unlocked :)

Observation Notes

  • Area of development: practical life
  • Skills: fine motor skill, focus, hand and eyes coordination, strengthen the hand and wrist muscles, problem solving.
  • Lulu was so excited to do all the activities today. All of them are new activities.
  • She has a good attention span, focus and determined to finish the task.
[^1]: http://www.infomontessori.com