Practical Life exercises are one of the key components of the Montessori Early Childhood Prepared Environment. These activities provide opportunities for children to develop the skills necessary to participate in daily life at home and at school and also provide a critical foundation for all academic learning.As children become more independent, they develop confidence and pride in themselves. They also build fine-motor skills, concentration, and sequencing skills. The Dressing Frames are one material that helps young children to learn all of the individual steps of complex actions like tying a bow or buttoning a shirt.
This material shows another key component of many Montessori materials – isolation of difficulty. Children can carefully master each step of skills like buttoning or tying without the difficulty of practicing the skill on clothing they are wearing. Dr. Montessori tells us that young children are saying, “Help me to do it by myself.”
Adults can support children in learning to dress themselves. Self-esteem and executive functioning – the building blocks of a happy, healthy school experience – are among the benefits of Practical Life work.
Want to support this work at home? Give your child the opportunity to practice dressing themselves!
- Provide clothing for your child that is easy to get on and off.
- Let your children choose their own outfits (Doing this the night before makes morning routines shorter!) If your child is overwhelmed by choices, offer a limited selection such as, “Would you like to wear your blue shirt tomorrow or your red one?”
- Only help your child when they ask for help. Let them try to dress when they are not frustrated. Offer help when needed.