Montessori Practical Life Materials

When provided with the right environment and equipment to facilitate autonomous education, one enables their child to develop to their maximum potential. It can be quite shocking to see the children losing their interest in performing mundane tasks as they grow older. 

One salient feature of the Montessori Method of Education is the Practical Life Curriculum. The Montessori Practical Life curriculum plays an integral role within the Montessori Programs and in Montessori Education. Montessori Practical Life activities and materials help inculcate essential practical life values that are necessary for everyday routine and practices. 

Practical Life education in Montessori is essential for the child’s cognitive and physical growth as well as helps children gain real-life experinces and acquire physical knowledge. The Practical Life curriculum and activities develop the child’s natural interest in self-care and hygiene. 

The Montessori Method of Education integrates multiple vital real-life activities which inculcate independence, order, and confidence in developing minds. 

Ideally, Montessori Practical Life Materials are the very first activities that are introduced to children upon entering Montessori. 

The Montessori Method of Eduction assimilates a diverse variety of materials that facilitate engaging and interactive education. Here is everything one should know about the Montessori Practical Life Materials, to help one comprehend the concept of these fascinating materials and organize a prepared environment that integrates Montessori Practical Life Materials. 

What are Montessori Practical Life Materials? 

The Montessori Practical Life Materials lay down the foundations for most preceding Montessori activities. The Montessori Practical Life Materials help children manipulate, move around, and maneuver objects in conjunction with the environment, surrounding objects, as well as comprehend the relationships between physical objects. 

These Materials facilitate the development of gross motor skills, refined motor skills, physical health. Practical Life materials also incorporate practices like self-care, care of the environment, and courtesy.  

What are the chief Characteristics of the Montessori Practical Life curriculum?

The Montessori Practical Life Materials offers children real-life experiences along with a purpose to participate in the activities. These materials contribute to facilitating interactive education for the younger ones to help them become contributing members of the home environment, school environment, and society. 

The characteristics of Montessori Practical Life Materials are: 

  • Reality: Practical Life Materials should promote real-life activities that promote self-care, self-hygiene, and care for the environment. 
  • Limitless Learning: There are no rigid guidelines that limit the child’s curiosity and imagination. The Materials should not be limited to a particular culture. The Materials can be customized according to the culture and environment of the country.
  • Individual Materials: The children should be provided with separate materials to help facilitate proper practical activities. 
  • Self-Contained: The Materials should be kept in designated shelves, cabinets, and baskets. Assigned places for materials and belongings create decorum as well as bring order and structure. 
  • Grouping: The Materials should be separated into different groups based on their purpose. Designated areas should be provided for conducting activities. 
  • Child-Sized: The Materials and Furniture in a Montessori Environment should be child-sized. Child-sized Materials are easy to maneuver, easy to reach, and do not intimidate children. 
  • Cultural: The Montessori Practical Life Materials should integrate cultural aspects of the child’s environment. 
  • Functional: The Montessori Practical Life Materials should serve functionality and must be easy to manipulate. The children should also be provided with proper functional materials as well. 
  • Order: The materials should also be kept in proper order from simple materials being starting from the left side of the shelves to complex materials being kept on the right side of the shelves. 

List of different Montessori Practical Life Materials:

Montessori Practical Life Materials come in several different forms which facilitate the education of different real-life activities. It is essential to note that these Practical Life Materials should always be child-sized. When attached with Montessori Practical Life Activities, these materials help children indulge in an interactive, exciting, and informative learning process. 

Here is a list of different Montessori Practical life Materials:

  1. Work Mats: (2.5 to 3 years)

Work mats are used to teach children how to roll and unroll the mats, along with teaching the children how to move around their peer’s workspace. 

  1. Using Spoons: (2.5 to 3 years)

Children are provided with child-safe spoons. The use of spoons and other utensils is an important part of the child’s self-care experience.
Children learn how to manipulate, control, and develop the skills that are needed to properly use a spoon. The Montessori Spooning Activities also help the child develop fine motor skills.  

  1. Dressing frames: (3 years)
    Montessori Dressing Frames are a unique Montessori material that is introduced to children 3 years of age. The Montessori Dressing frames incorporate different types of fasteners like:
  • Buttoning frame (small and large)
  • Zipping frame 
  • Bow frame
  • Lacing frame
  • Velcro frame
  • Buckling frame 
  • Safety pin frame 
  • Hook and eye frame

These frames help children master different types of fasteners to help them learn how to dress themselves independently as well as facilitate the development of fine motor skills. 

  1. Lock and Keys: (3 to 5 years)

The Montessori Lock and key is an interactive and engaging Montessori Practical Life Material that incorporates padlocks and keys. It is introduced to children between the ages of 3 years to 5 years. This Montessori Practical Life Material increases concentration as well as develops fine motor skills in children. 

  1. Using a Dustpan  and a Brush: (3 years)

This Montessori Practical Life Material integrates a child-sized dustpan and a brush. Taking care of the surrounding environment is an integral part of the Montessori curriculum. The Montessori Brush and Dustpan Practical Life Materials are introduced to children at the age of 3 years. The children learn how to clean as well as keep their surrounding environment tidy through this activity. 

  1. Setting up a Table: (3 to 4 years)

The children are provided with a child-sized table and chair to practice setting up a table. The Montessori method of education promotes this practical life activity to help children learn how to become a contributing part of the home environment and develop their fine motor skills. Setting up a table also helps the children develop a sense of visual discrimination.

  1. Taking care of Plants: (3 to 6 years)

Children are provided with child-safe plant care materials. Initially, children are given small indoor plants to maintain and take care of.  This activity promotes children to keep their surrounding environment aesthetically pleasing and beautiful.
Several kits comprising of Montessori materials are available in the market that focuses on plant care: 

  • Leaf polishing kits
  • Cleaning leaves kits
  • Watering plants kits
  • Flower arrangements kits
  • Leaf-cutting kits
  1. Grasping and Transferring Materials: (2.5 to 3 years)

This Montessori Material comprises several objects that fashion handles and knobs that encourage children to grasp. With the help of this activity, the child learns how to properly grasp handles and knobs as well as transfer the objects with the help of these knobs and handles.
With grasping Materials children develop fine motor skills as well as learn how to master the pincer grasp by transferring the objects bowl to bowl. 

  1. Wet Mopping: (3 years)

This Montessori Material includes a child-sized mop and a small bucket to help children understand the importance of cleanliness. It is important to help children clean up after themselves in case a spill occurs. The Montessori wet mopping instills a sense of responsibility in children once they become 3 years of age.