Practical Life

The child seeks for independence by means of work; an independence of body and mind

(The Absorbent Mind, Chapter 8, p. 91)

The Practical Life area provides the link between the child's home environment and the classroom. Practical Life exercises enable the children to develop their independence, eye-hand co-ordination, self-discipline and concentration. Through these exercises, they not only learn to care for themselves but also for others, as well as the environment. Completing and mastering these exercises give the children a real sense of achievement and this builds their self-esteem.

It encompasses four main areas: Control of Movement, Care of Person, Care of Environment and Grace and Courtesy.


It is exactly in the repetition of the exercises that the education of the senses exists; not that the child shall know colors, forms or qualities, but that he refines his senses through an exercise of attention, comparison and judgment.

Maria Montessori

Sensorial materials are tools for the development and refinement of the senses. Through work with the specially designed Montessori materials, the children learn to order and classify the physical properties of the world they live in. This area provides a key to the world, a means for a growth in perception as well as an understanding that forms the basis abstract thinking. By exploring and taking in impressions all around them through their senses, they will appreciate the beauty and qualities of their world even more.


Not only does he create his language, but he shapes the organs that enable him to frame the words. He has to make the physical basis of every moment, all the elements of our intellect, everything the human being is blessed with.

(The Absorbent Mind, p. 22)

Language is vital to human existence. The Montessori environment provides rich and precise verbal language. The children are free to express themselves while communicating with peers and adults in the environment.

Vocabulary building, phonemic awareness, reading and writing are developed through spontaneous exercises as well as work with the language materials.

Indirect preparation for writing begins with the practical life exercises and sensorial training. Muscular movement and fine motor skills are developed along with the ability of the child to distinguish the sounds which make up language. Written expression (for interpretation, creativity and pleasure) and grammar will also be introduced at an appropriate time.


The child must see for himself what he can do, and it is important to give him not only the means of education but also to supply him with indicators which tell him his mistakes…

(The Absorbent Mind, p.229)

Since the children's mind has already been awakened to mathematical ideas through the sensorial experiences, they can further appreciate and grasp mathematical concepts with ease and joy by working hands-on with concrete and specially designed Mathematics materials. This lays their foundation for abstract reasoning and application of these concepts.

The materials offered move from an experiential understanding of 1-10 to linear counting up to a thousand, to an understanding of the Decimal System into the thousands, to an understanding of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, and eventually to memorizing math facts and connecting symbols to what the child understands.

In addition, self-correcting materials enable the children to learn from mistakes made, empowering them as independent learners.

Cultural Extensions

Knowledge can be best given where there is eagerness to learn, so this is the period when the seed of everything can be sown, the child’s mind being like a fertile field, ready to receive what will germinate into culture.

(To Educate the Human Potential, p. 3)

Geography, History, Biology, Botany, Zoology, Art, Music and Science are presented as extensions of the sensorial and language activities. In addition, the children are exposed to different cultures from all over the world. Cultural extensions aim to increase their knowledge as well as promote respect and love for their human and physical environment.

© 2014 Montessori Children’s House Pte Ltd