Maria Montessori developed Practical Life activities to help children develop into independent thinking adults. Each step in a practical life activity satisfies the child’s innate desire to imitate the home life that they have seen adults do since birth in a daily basis. These skills are taught early in life to help children develop the self-discipline needed for success throughout their life and to allow children to be confident.
The practical Life area teaches the child things they need to and are motivated to learn. The same key fundamental executive and emotional skills are being developed to help prepare for Math, reading, and language. They all require focus and the ability to follow logical sequential steps to make intelligent choices.
Flower arranging is one of the activities in the Practical Life Area. This activity includes different practical life skills and a logical sequence of steps for the child to complete. Before being invited to this lesson a child should be able to successfully use scissors for cutting, pour water and carry a try.
- The child would start by putting on an apron and walking carefully to get water in a pitcher. They must control their movement while walking across the classroom without spilling water.
- The water is poured into a small vase of their choice.
- Then the child could pick the flowers and hold the flower next to the vase to visually measure where to cut the stem so the flower fits in the vase. The Child marks the stem of the flower with a pair of scissors and carefully brings it to a bowl of water to cut.
- Now the child takes the cut flowers and arranges it in the vase. They get an atomizer and sprays it to add a dewy look.
- Now the child gets a doily and walks around the classroom placing the flower arrangement where they choose.
- The child completes the activity by cleaning up the area.
There are multiple layers to this activity. It may seem straightforward and repetitive but a lot is going on under the surface. In doing Practical Life activities the child develops a sense of order and inner happiness for being able to complete it. It helps develop independence and respect for her environment, wanting to make it more beautiful with flowers. It improves fine motor skills and control and coordination of movement. It also enriches language by giving the names of the flowers or names of the materials used for the activity.