Practical Life

The Practical Life Exercises (PLE) teach ‘care of self,’ thus promoting independence and self­‐reliance. Examples of PLE are washing of hands, combing of hair, tooth brushing , working on the dressing frames (buttoning, tying shoe laces, fastening by buckle, etc.), spooning.

When children work with their hands as in PLE, not only is their self‐confidence built up, but their brain develops a whole lot more. For discussions, click ‘Building Better Brains’ for a talk by Dr Steve Hughes, a pediatric neuropsychologist who eventually became a Montessori dad.

 “Never help a child with a task at which she feels she can succeed.”

Above sequenced photos show a two-­year old girl initiate work.

On her own, she approaches a shelf, chooses a material to work on, picks up the material and carries it over to a table, lays the tray, pulls a chair, sits down and starts to work. The material exercise is called “spooning “ and the materials are composed of two breakable bowls, a spoon and beads on one bowl.

Not included in the photo sequence is when she finishes the exercise, she gets up, carries the tray with the bowls, and replaces it back to the shelf where she first got it and then picks up again another material to work on. Children are trained to initiate and complete a full cycle of work before embarking on another one.

While doing this exercise addresses Practical Life skills so the child can do things on her own, it clearly enhances as well her psycho­‐motor development.

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