Central Montessori School The first time I stepped into a Montessori classroom, I saw a space that was beautifully put together with shelves full of material skillfully placed and not overstimulating. I was very curious about what I just walked into. I had worked at a public school for four years before my visit and had never seen a classroom quite like this. I sat in my observation chair and watched children walk into their classroom, shake hands with their teachers, softly say good morning, wash their hands without being told, and many of them headed first to the Practical Life section of the classroom. I watched children scoop objects, pour water, fold clothes, practice zipping, water plants string beads with such care, concentration, and love. I spoke to the Head of School and asked as many questions as I could. The practical Life area was a place for children to work on especially important brain development skills while growing muscular strength. It also instilled a sense of peace, pride, and independence. I had no idea that I stepped into what was for me an education revelation, I would never look at teaching in the
the same way.
Practical Life is the foundation of life! It is the practice of practical things. A practical life section of a classroom is usually split up into different parts. Care of self and Care of the environment. Everything on the shelf is thoughtfully prepared with control of error to help aide the child in mastering each exercise. Working in the practical life area of the classroom helps a child to read and understand mathematical concepts. How? Because Maria Montessori designed it that way. A child needs to get use to order top to
bottom left to right and train his or her brain to decode symbols and the only way to do that is through movement. Fine and Gross motor skills are practiced in a fun and engaging way through these materials.
Practical life activities vary from sweeping, flower arranging, blowing one’s nose, jewelry hanging to sharpening pencils, setting the table and washing windows. The children love having the opportunity to work with real life objects! Older children learn to braid, sue, and set the table for the whole class. A Montessori Classroom should feel like home and the practical life area ensures this feeling with an aesthetically pleasing design. Believe it or not Children do not benefit from loud walls full of color and clutter as they do in regular preschools. There are many reading materials on how over stimulations in the classroom can cause anxiety and confusion. A Montessori classroom is designed with the child in mind. Artwork at the level of the children and beautiful focus points that have been placed there with
care and with the intent to be explored.
~Mariam Enayat

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