Practical Life

Practical Life activities are sequential activities of daily life.  The child observes these lessons and in turn gains experience to accomplish the next level of interest.  The practical life materials engage the child with a series of actions performed in a logical order.  These actions help to assist the child in developing motor skills and body management.  The practical life materials provide an experience that encourages a child to develop an awareness of independence and self-discipline, which sets a pattern for a lifetime of good work habits and a sense of responsibility.

Introduction to Practical Life

Areas of Concentration – General Objectives

  • Developing the ability to concentrate
  • Increase independence
  • Gain a sense of order
  • Developing respect for the community (using materials appropriately and returning materials)
  • Enhance self-confidence and self-esteem
  • To develop small and large motor muscle control
  • To prepare for skills used in other curriculum areas

The Areas of Practical Life – Preliminary Exercises

Body Management – Carrying

  • Rug
  • Tray (empty and with something on it)
  • Pitcher (empty and full)
  • Bucket (empty and full)
  • Watering can
  • Scissors and child knives  (good control and safe)
  • Carrying a chair
  • Carrying a table (2 persons)

Body Management – Carrying

  • Walking around furniture
  • Walking around work rugs
  • Walking around narrow spaces
  • Walking on the line
  • Opening / closing containers
  • Care of books (returning books)

Grace and Courtesy

  • Greeting – good morning, good afternoon, introducing someone, saying please and thank you, may I, excusing oneself
  • Observing a teacher presents a lesson
  • Observing a child at work
  • Inviting someone
  • Declining an invitation
  • How to interrupt (make eye contact)
  • Asking permission
  • Offering help to someone

Primary Movements of the Hand

  • Scooping (hand – tools)
  • Squeezing (whole hand grip – pincer)
  • Twisting (stirring, nail and screw boards)
  • Grasping and controlling (two-handed activities, pouring, grating, slicing)
  • Rolling and folding (square cloths, aprons, mats, rugs)
  • Stringing, sewing, weaving
  • Pounding – using tweezers, tongs, eye droppers, locks

Care of Oneself

  • Dressing oneself
  • Hand washing
  • Toileting
  • Blowing one’s nose and washing one’s hands
  • Dressing frames

Care of the Environments – Indoors / outdoors

  • Classroom – dusting, polishing, washing floors, tables, materials
  • Pouring liquids without spilling
  • Carrying liquids without spilling
  • Sweeping and vacuuming floors and rugs
  • Gardening – growing plants, flower arranging, seed saving, cooking with food harvested from the gardens
  • Table setting – meals and tea.  Serving yourself and others
  • Table manners
  • Food preparation and cooking
  • Dish washing/drying
  • Putting materials away on shelves where they belong

Control of Movement

  • Working carefully and neatly
  • Walking on the line
  • Silence game
  • Movement games/activities
  • Sports (age appropriate)
  • Yoga
  • Dancing

Early Lessons (Ages 3-5)

  • Learning home address and phone number
  • Months of the year (ages 4 +)
  • Writing name (ages 4 +)

Practical Life Continues (Ages 6-10)

  • Caring for younger children
  • Providing or demonstrating lessons to younger children
  • Sewing, weaving, building complex projects
  • Beginning to develop test taking strategies
  • Decorating classrooms
  • Caring for animals
  • Making clothes or bags
  • Gardening
  • Presenting sports or games to younger children
  • Typing and researching (age appropriate)