The most important period of life is not the age of university studies, but the first one, the period from birth to the age of six. For that is the time when a man’s intelligence itself, his greatest implements is being formed. But not only his intelligence: the full totality of his powers. ~Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind
John Robert is at the tail end of this important age period, while Asher is still progressing in the early stages. When I look at JR, I’m proud of the boy he has matured into. He’s chosen to strive for greatness, he loves learning and he’s kind to others. When he tells me he did his best, I know it’s true and I say, “That’s all we can do, try our best in everything we do.” He’s also independent, a great helper and enjoys contributing to the family. I attribute this to his ability and desire to do things for himself. There’s great power in knowing how to do things for yourself.
Many parents, during this early stage, focus on teaching colors, vocabulary and even teaching their children how to read, which are all important things. The only problem is, sometimes we forget about the practical life lessons that will help give our children the tools they need to become self-sufficient, independent children. It’s easy to overlook the practical life skills, but this period should be dedicated to teaching our children how to do things for themselves and creating environments that assist them in doing so…even if it takes them 5 times longer to do something than it would take you. Believe me, I know about waiting…and waiting…and waiting…
Here are a few of the ways we encourage practical life skills in our home.
(Click on the links below to learn more.)
- Start by creating a safe environment for your baby to explore.
- Setup a station for washing hands.
- Store child cups, bowls, plates and silverware in a low cabinet or drawer.
- Place hooks at a child’s height to hang clothing/coats.
- Teach your child to put on his/her own jacket.
- Provide snacks and a water dispenser at a child’s level.
- Provide age appropriate activities at the child’s level like Practical Life Trays.
- Prepare a Montessori Toddler Environment at Home
- Encourage self dressing & self bathing