Preschool Practical Life
CONCENTRATION, COORDINATION, ORDER, INDEPENDENCE
While mastery of physical skills and useful works are important, the direct aims of the Practical Life area are internal and give the child freedom to develop her learning in any area of the curriculum. In Practical Life, she develops concentration, coordination, a sense of order, and independence. A child practices building her attention span by engaging in meticulous work, at an appropriate level of challenge, which she has selected for herself. It is common to see even the youngest child totally engrossed with their pouring or spooning for an extended period of time. The child will develop the ability to control and call upon this concentration as she continues to practice in all areas of the classroom. Moving with extreme care is also essential for success in this area, and allows the child to practice grace and use fragile materials successfully.
Practical Life works encourage independence in two key ways. First, they teach important life skills that the child can use in his life. A child who can dress himself or prepare his own meals will be more independent than a child who cannot. Then, as the child takes responsibility for himself, his sense of independence and competency compounds, building upon itself. The child’s need for order is honed by the precise motions and specific steps necessary to properly complete these activities. As he practices order in the physical world, a kind of mental order develops.