Unit 3: Practical Life & Art

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It’s time for our Third Unit: Practical Life, which also includes Art. It’s all about purposeful technique this week. Children want to do things just like we do, and cleaning is about so much more than wiping up a skill. These lessons are going to set your child up for a successful, fulfilling life.


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Your Learning Journal / Workbook is both your guide to this week’s topic and a place for your reflections. Next, you’re going to want that checklist of materials and explanations of the activities on hand.


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Lesson: Intro to Practical Life and Art


Lesson: The Need for Real Things


Lesson: Caring for Self, Others, and the Environment


Lesson: Giving a Lesson


Lesson: Grace and Courtesy


Lesson: Art


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Here are some of the articles and links I will be sharing with you in our community space for discussions to go along with this unit. You may be asked to reflect upon one or more of them in our group discussions.

1. This article lists the characteristics of practical life activities in the Montessori classroom. Think about the practical life materials you have for your children to use at home. Do they match these classroom guidelines? Why or why not?

2. Watch a minute or two of this child washing a table. How do you think she is feeling? What exactly is engaging her and keeping her interest?

3. Here are some photos of how others have set up their plant polishing works. It's sometimes nice to see easy setups! Do you have plants in your home? If not, I'm encouraging you to give it a try!

4. Teaching grace and courtesy lessons is an important part of the Montessori life. We give very short, direct lessons on social etiquette, and it has enormous benefits to the child.

5. Watch this video of a child doing the “baby washing” work. What strikes you about both the child doing the work and his “helpful” friend? What are these children learning through this work?

6. In this deceptively simple explanation of art in a Montessori classroom, Carolyn shares photos of the materials that might make you evaluate their purpose in a different, more artistic light.

7. Color mixing is just downright magical for children! Read this article for some detailed explanations of easy color mixing setups for children.

8. Read these two posts about scissor cutting practice from two Montessori parents. What type of cutting practice is your child ready for now? Easy version here. Harder version here.

9. This parent helped her children dip the wheels of toy cars/trucks in paint and use a large piece of paper outside as a canvas. What purpose do you see here that benefit the child’s development?


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Aubrey Hargis