The practical Life Area of the Montessori classroom is the area where the foundation for all learning takes place. The goal of this area is to aid children in concentration, coordination, independence and order.
This large vinyl area at Farmview is filled with everyday tasks such as pouring, scooping, using tongs, tying, snapping, buttoning, mopping, sweeping, scrubbing and many other manipulative activities. It is through these activities that children develop large and small motor skills and strength. It is by gaining strength in his/her fingers that a child prepares for writing. Without this finger strength writing becomes more difficult.
These works of interest also help increase and develop concentration. Children spend long periods of time focusing on these activities and repeating them. A sense of order and concentration is achieved through long process works with many steps to help with ordering a task, following through and completing the cycle of work.
Although independence is the goal of Montessori education, it begins in the Practical Life area. Simple responsibilities are part of the development of that independence. If a child spills paint, he/she gets the mop (child size) and cleans it up. This independence and ability to do things for oneself leads to strong self esteem. This self esteem gives children the confidence to take on bigger challenges in the academic areas.
Here at Farmview there is a very spacious art area with two shelves and several small stations dedicated to support the philosophy of art in the Montessori classroom.
The goal of the Art area is to encourage and support the child’s creativity. Supplies such as scissors, colored pencils, paper, yarn, glue etc.. are made available to the children to encourage them to create. There are no limits to what children can create. They are encouraged to make their own creations instead of trying to make something that looks like the teachers.
The art program includes the introduction of each primary color alone. The secondary colors are then introduced. Instead of introducing purple, red and blue will be put out for children to discover how to mix the colors to make purple. To hear the excitement from a child who says, “I made Purple” is very satisfying for a Montessori teacher. White is then introduced to the secondary colors to create shades.