The Montessori “prepared environment” allows children to act freely on their own initiative, and to meet their own needs through individual spontaneous activity. The children use the materials they have chosen with a sense of perfection and order. This builds self-discipline and concentration. Having children ages three through 5 together permits the younger children different models for imitation, and the older ones an opportunity to reinforce their own knowledge by helping the younger ones.
Using child-sized Montessori materials in the practical life area, the children perform many types of purposeful activities. Materials involve the children’s precise movement, allowing them to develop concentration and work at their own pace without being interrupted. The materials fulfill specific purposes for the child in the real world:
- Buttoning, snapping, zipping, and tying
- Sweeping the floor
- Pouring water
- Washing the table
- Cleaning vegetables
These materials fulfill specific purposes for the child in the real world:
- Increase their concentration
- Control their movement
- Pay attention to detail
- Perfect their coordination
- Establish good work habits
Although the Practical life Exercises may seem simple and commonplace, they are actually a very important part of the Montessori program. These activities instill independence and confidence within children, laying the foundation for the more intricate academic activities introduced in the future.