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Practical Life at Home

Maria Montessori identified the period from birth to age six as The Absorbent Mind. First the child attaches and bonds with caregivers, and then soon imitates everything they do. By age three, the child needs less maternal care, begins to follow the example of older children in a family, tribe, or Montessori classroom. In fact, I observe that the child will often choose the older child over the adult. By six years old the child has adapted to the culture and learned to complete the simpler tasks of that life.

So then, take your opportunity while your child is young! It is very hard to teach these tasks to a child who has passed the Absorbent Mind. Observe and follow your child’s interests, you will be guided by your child’s development.

The tasks listed here are taught with example and grace rather than correction and scolding.

Grace and Courtesy

· Please and Thank You

· Excuse me

· Waiting patiently

· Greeting and saying goodbye

· Interrupting appropriately and not interrupting

· “You may use this when I’m done” and “May I…”

· Heartfelt apology “Do you feel sorry? You could tell them.”

· Offering to help

· Letting someone go first

· Permission to hug or touch someone

Care of Self and environment

· Sitting and pulling in your chair

· Pushing in your chair

· Carrying various items

· Gathering and setting up your work

· Putting away work when finished

· Washing hands thoroughly, drying hands

· Using the toilet

· Dressing and undressing, jacket flip, button, zip, Velcro, tie, buckle…

· Hand washing laundry

· Hanging laundry to dry

· Folding laundry and putting away

· Using a hanger

· Matching socks

· Washing a table or countertop

· Wiping up spills

· Sweeping with child-sized broom, brush and dustpan

· Mopping (some mops can have handle segments removed to adjust size)

· Washing windows, mirrors

· Arranging flowers


· Planting seeds, tending a garden

· Harvesting and cleaning produce

· Meal planning and shopping for healthy food

· Food prep: pouring, scooping, spreading, slicing, stirring, grating, peeling, mashing…

· Using stove and oven as you observe child is careful and obedient

· Setting the table

· How to use dishes and utensils

· Scraping and rinsing plates, washing dishes, loading and unloading dishwasher

· Collecting compost and recycling


· for Edison’s Day video use code FREEAPRIL

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