The “Practical Life” of the Montessori Toddler
Practical Life activities are the activities of everyday life and they are involved in all aspects of life. The child observes these activities in the environment and gains knowledge through the real experience of how to accomplish life skills in a purposeful way. - Heidi Philipart
In the Toddler Room children are very busy, especially with the work Dr. Montessori names, practical life. One of the toddler's favorite practical life work is food preparation. On any given day there is always at least 3 food preparation work on the shelves. Whether it be egg peeling, pickle slicing, banana slicing, juicing, clementine peeling or spreading peanut butter on a cracker. They do it all. The toddlers are expected to carry the tray from the shelf over to the food prep table and sit down to start their work. There is always a small sponge on the tray for any kind of clean up they may have.
Everything in the toddler room is their size so they can be as independent as possible. The watering can fits right in their hands so watering the plants is no problem for them. The small crumb tray, dust pan and brush is always handy after snack and lunch clean up. The toddlers always know that they need to wash their hands before snack and lunch, so the stairs leading up to the sink makes this easy for them.
In doing these practical life activities, the child can develop a high level of concentration, develop a sense of order and take pride in completing a job - all with increased independence, developing respect for their community and surroundings, and improving fine motor skills.