By: Intan Rahmanita
If teaching is to be effective with young children, it must assist them to advance on the way to independence. It must initiate them into those kinds of activities, which they can perform themselves. We must help them to learn how to walk without assistance, to run, to go up and down the stairs, to pick up fallen objects, to dress and undress, to wash themselves, to express their needs, and to attempt to satisfy their desires through their own efforts. All this is part of an education for independence." - Maria Montessori, The Discovery of the Child, Chapter 3 page 57. From the beginning, a child will strive for independence, and the best way to help him achieve it is to show him the skill he needs to succeed. Unfortunately, parents try to help much and in wrong way. Many, for instance rather to wait patiently every day while their youngster struggles to eat breakfast, do up his button, tie his shoe lace and then end up doing these for him. Montessori built up a curriculum that called Practical Life. These are simple everyday routinely perform by adults to control and maintain the environment which they live and work. The activities are utilitarian, and so for the adult, they have purpose and means to an end-and the end result is more important than the process. Practical life activities enable the adult to control his physical and social environment. From early age, every child watches his parents perform these every day and so he has a strong desire to copy and learn from them- it is his way of adapting the world. Unlike the adult, however, the performance of these simple daily routine is developmental and absorbing for the child; he is more interested in the process involved than in the end result. As a writer, I’m very interested to bring up this topic due in my childhood this area for most parents not so important to be stimulated rather language and math. I still remember my first years live far apart from my parents. Where I must entered dormitory in Senior High School. I even don’t know how to sweep floor properly, folded the clothed until washed my own dress. Every tasks need lots of time and must repeated twice or more to get clean. Thus, it made me frustrated and really influences my focus on school. Something get wrong here? Why my I cannot do these simple things. Why fine motor, my eye-hand, my feet not well coordinate even to sweep the room. Then the answer pop in to my head, because I never do it .And It is like if I’m studying math, where when practicing make perfect. Now as a mother, I want for my daughter to have an easier life in the future whatever profession she would focus on, just like Maria Montessori said to give the child “a help to life”. Montessori stated that at each plane of development there is a sensitive period for different skills and activities. It is critical that proper stimulation be provided as nature intended. A child enters the Children's House (Montessori preschool) around the age of three. It is here where the Work of the Family, known as Practical Life activities, provides an introduction and smooth transition to the Montessori school by linking the activities that the child is familiar with at home to the school environment.
Children at this age enjoy, and even prefer, spending their time helping adults with their activities. When allowed to do so, the child learns that his contributions are of value, thus boosting his self-esteem and independence. He enjoys and should be encouraged to use child-size replicas of adult tools. In short, the direct aim of Montessori Practical Life activities is to help develop social skills and independence. Indirectly, Practical Life activities develop fine motor skills, as well as strengthening intellect, concentration, and personal will.
Four categories of practical life:
a.Care of Environment
Such as pouring, transferring, cleaning, and polishing. Pouring...