Why Montessori practical life activities?
- Practicing control of movements
- Fosters independence
How can parents get started at home?
Setting up a work space
- Find an area that you can dedicate to your child and there materials. You will need space for a shelf or low counter of some sort as well as a place for your child to sit and work, either a child sized table or mat on the floor.
- Choose a shelf/cabinet system. This needs to be a shelf that is low enough that your child can reach the items. You can use something taller and simply dedicate the lower shelves to your child. It’s up to you!! Here are a couple of pictures as ideas.
|This shelf was made for me, so if you have someone handy it can be any height and width.||This is a commercially bought shelf from a teaching supplies store.||This is from Target or Walmart and similar stores. They are a great affordable option and they come in a few different colors and heights. The one shown is a little tall, but they have one with 6 cubbies that works well for younger kids.|
- Create a space for your child to sit and work. If you have a child size table that works for your child great, otherwise find a small rug or mat to define their work space and keep their materials confined and manageable. Be sure to choose something that works well with your child’s visual impairment, think of contrast needs and visual clutter, as well as any physical needs for positioning
Simple solid colored area rug to use as a work mat on the floor, this one came from IKEA I believe, but you can get a rug anywhere!!
|This is a table that was custom-made. Again you would need someone handy, but you can get any height and width that you want.||
This is commercially bought, but a very nice table, it adjusts in height as children grow and it has an easily adjustable slant table for reading and writing tasks. This is from Flaghouse,
- Choose the work that you would like to do.
- Carry the work to the work space (further down I will discuss creating the activities, but you will want the child to be able to carry the work independently).
- Set the tray/basket down on the left side of the workspace or center depending on the type of work (if you will be taking the work out of the basket/tray or if you will complete the activity on the tray).
- Perform the activity start to finish and then take it apart, or set it back up so it’s ready to do again or for the next time.
- Carry the work back to the shelf.
- Get another work and start process over, or be done.
Creating Some Work Activities
- Choose an activity/skill to start with.
- You will need a work tray or basket of some sort to keep all materials together for your child. This helps them know what they need for a work, and that all the materials are ready and organized so that they can be successful with the work that they chose.
Make sure your basket/work tray is something that your child can carry independently,
Collect all the materials, and place them on the tray neatly so that they can be easily found and that they remain in a consistent location. Try not to over clutter the tray or it will be more difficult.
Again, keep in mind your child’s visual impairment. Think about clutter and contrast. Do you have white materials on a white tray?? Put a contrasting piece of construction paper on the bottom of the tray and they will see the work better.
- Create some very basic activities to get your child started. I would recommend choosing activities that will keep your child’s interest, but are not too challenging to start with. Initially you will want to teach the process of using the materials and the space appropriately and not focus on teaching a new skill.
- Only set out a couple of activities at a time until your child demonstrates an understanding in the process and use of the materials.
- When you place the work on the shelf always put them in the same location so that your child can find them, this increases independence and predictability.
- Introduce the process and the works you have chosen
Resources/Finding Ideas to Get Started
- Google or Pinterest!!! Just search for “Montessori at home”, or “Montessori work trays”
- Try specific types of activities “Montessori color activities” “Montessori toddler activities” (toddler activities I find to be totally appropriate for my preschool age kids) and so on… search away and you will find many websites from moms using Montessori materials at home!!
- Try searching for themes “Montessori Spring activities” and so on.