Tuesday 8 January 2008

Practical Life

We have some practical life activities set up on the shelf but BabyEbi doesn't bother with them much, the exception being the pouring and spooning activities. That said, he does get his fair share of practical life experiences by helping me around the house, he sorts the socks when I am hanging out the laundry and puts away most of his own clothes (he can't quite manage getting his T-shirts in the draw yet), he also puts away some of my laundry in the draws he can reach. He helps with the dusting and cleaning and just started to lay the table ready for lunch.
In the morning he helps unload the dishwasher putting the dishes away and sorting the cutlery.

He also folds all the napkins and puts them away, yet he won't touch the folding exercise on the shelf.

Whenever I am in the kitchen he wants to help so yesterday I had him grating the peel off some yuzu, my mother-in-law had sent me a dozen and I have no idea how to use them so we made yuzu cookies using this basic dough they are lovely, I think it would work well with lemon or orange too.

So, what I think I am try to say is that although at Montessori schools 'practical life' activities are important and sometimes the only way for a child to practice is by doing a shelf type activity, I think at home they should be off the shelf and put into context, folding napkins that are used everyday at the table and putting them in the draw has more meaning that folding some towels and putting them in a basket on a shelf where they only get used as a folding activity. Sorting cutlery and putting it away in the kitchen draw is more interesting than doing it at a little table then putting it back on the shelf. As is preparing a snack, actually pouring milk rather than coloured water and spooning sweet beans into a dish for dinner rather than dry beans as a table activity.
He is also my recycling buddy, the recycling in this town is quite strict, I'm not sure how many actual catagories there are but it includes...
  • plastics
  • tins and cans
  • milk cartons
  • polysterene food trays
  • clear glass
  • coloured glass
  • burnable (stuff like food waste or things that don't go in any other bin)
  • garden waste
  • paper/newspapers
  • card
  • plastic PET bottles
Then there are days when they collect things like batteries and light bulbs, big objects under a certain size can be left once a month, really big items need to be collected at a small cost, it is quite complicated and I have a chart up on the fridge so I know what needs to go out on what day. BabyEbi is learning what goes in which bin at the moment and sometimes gets it wrong but he is getting there. When he is a bit older we will do a project or something on recycling but for now we will stick to trying to get the right thing in the right bin!

Oh yes, and don't forget to sign up for the counting object swap


  1. I agree... I am beginning to homeschool my Little Man with the Montessori Method and I find he is very interested in helping with the real thing than an activity about the real thing. I think homeschoolers are able to provide practical life activities around the house. Thanks for sharing what Ebi likes to do:)

  2. Your recycling seems crazy but at least they have it. It shocks me how many communities have NO recycling.
    Thanks so much for sharing your PL real life examples. It inspires me to do more real life work with my 3 yo.

  3. You are doing what Practical Life REALLY is!! We can't do that so much in the classroom, so we have the little activities. I wouldn't worry if he isn't choosing the folding activity when he is actually folding something for a purpose! When we do the laundry in the classroom, we dump it all on the table. Very soon children come and start folding it all and putting it away. Sometimes I give my folding lessons then, with those cloths. Doesn't matter!! Baby Ebi is having a great PL education!


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