Practical Life Exercises
Practical life exercises can be divided into four categories. These are:
1. Development of Motor Skills. Activities for Development of Motor Skills designed to help the child improve his fine motor skills, eye-hand co-ordination, concentration, observation and most importantly, mental development.
“Till now, almost all educators have thought of movement and the muscular system as aids to respiration, or to circulation, or as a means for building up physical strength. But in our new conception the view is taken that movement has great importance in mental development itself, provided that the action which occurs is connected with the mental activity going on. Both mental and spiritual growth are fostered by this, without which neither maximum progress nor maximum health (speaking of the mind) can exist.”
(The Absorbent Mind, 145)
The category Development of Motor Skills contains the following exercises:
· Rolling and unrolling a mat,
· Carrying a chair, carrying a table, carrying a tray,
· Spooning beans from one bowl to equal bowls, unequal bowls, bowls with indicator lines,
· Pouring beans from a jug to equal containers, unequal containers, containers with indicator lines,
· Pouring water from one jug to equal containers, unequal containers, containers with an indicator line, containers with the help of a funnel,
· Transferring objects with tweezers, transferring objects with tongs, transferring and sorting, transferring with the help of a turkey baster, transferring with the help of an escargot holder, transferring objects with chopsticks,
· Pegging using cloth pegs, using board pegs, using paper clips,
· Folding and unfolding napkins.
· Activities of dry pouring, wet pouring and transferring indirectly teach the child mathematical concepts like remainders, volume and capacity.
“the true ‘Motor Characteristics’ connected with the mind are the movements of the vocal organs in language and those of the hand in the service of the mind in working out an idea.”
(The Secret of Childhood, Chapter 4, Page 79)
1. Care of the Environment. Exercises like sweeping, screwing and unscrewing bottles, opening and closing boxes, nuts and bolts, locks and keys, lacing, threading and beading, polishing, cutting, washing a table and tearing come under the category of Care of the Environment.
These activities concentrate on developing the child's observation, concentration, fine motor skills, co-ordination and patience.
2. Care for Self. Care for Self includes activities related to personal appearance and hygiene like dressing frames, washing hands and plaiting. There are a number of types of dressing frames- zip frame, Velcro frame, large button frame, small button frame, hook and eye frame, titch button frame, buckle frame, bow frame and lace frame and so on.
These activities improve a child's dexterity, fine motor skills and make him feel self confident and help him become independent.
3. Social Graces and Courtesy. Exercises in Social Graces and Courtesy show children how to behave in defined situations and help them to acquire the social skills essential for everyday living in society. By performing them, they heighten their social awareness and develop a sense of personal dignity. Understanding and performing these activities give the children the confidence to approach other people leading them to respect people of all ages and backgrounds.
Activities taught under this category are shaking hands, inviting someone, interrupting- “excuse me”, “pardon me, please”, “may I”, how to cough and sneeze, offering water, offering a pencil, offering a pair of scissors, offering a knife, how to turn pages, the silence game and walking on a line.