Here is another resource for teachers and parents of young tactual learners!
I am always thinking in the back of my mind about "literacy" ideas to share. Yesterday I was taking time setting up my classroom, organizing some work, pondering who was using the specific work, are they completing it and if not, why? I felt the urge to close my eyes and try it from their perspective to get a better idea of what they were experiencing and what was challenging to them. I learned some invaluable things about the work and the challenges, made some adjustments so that my students could feel successful, but more importantly I realized some of the true values of these works.
The work that I am talking about is some of my practical life work, or work trays. These activities are a big part of a Montessori classroom and are activities that I have used in my classroom for years. They have recently become a staple.... for numerous reasons. Practical life work is not specifically "literacy" activities as you would typically think of literacy activities, but there are so many building blocks that need to be in place as we help children become fluent readers... and these activities teach and reinforce all those necessary building blocks.
As I stood at my shelf with my eyes closed I realized the level of concentration it took to complete a simple tonging exercise and a simple marble transfer activity (shown above). These activities required:
- high levels of concentration
- using two hands together
- having a plan and to work systematically to complete a task
- using both my hands gently and carefully
All of those skills I described above are critical for fluent braille readers.... aren’t they? These activities are easy to create with items that you have or items that you can easily find at a thrift shop! The activities focus on skills like transferring wet and dry, pouring wet and dry, scooping, using tongs and so much more! They are easily adapted and created for each individual student and their ability level.
Practical life activities are things that can easily be created for use at home or school hold so much value in the child’s overall development and pre-literacy skills. I find most of my ideas for the actual activities simply by doing an online search for "Montessori practical life activities" many things will come up. I encourage you to create a simple task, close your eyes and give it a shot... your children will love it too!!
WOW!!! Now I see why my kids frequently take out the work, but don't always finish!! These were intense tasks with no sight.