One unique aspect of a Montessori classroom is the Practical Life area. Through repetitive, hands-on, and very purposeful activities such as silver polishing, hand washing, and table scrubbing, the child learns to care for himself and his environment. Simultaneously, he is learning the skills of concentration, coordination, manual dexterity, order, and independence.
Each Practical Life activity is presented by the teacher in a careful, precise, ordered way. One would be amazed at the number of steps involved in scrubbing a table! The children look on with wonder as they observe the process of polishing a piece of silver or scrubbing a dirty table, eagerly anticipating their chance to do this purposeful work. Through their observation of the teacher’s carefully presented lesson, the children sense the importance of order. It is this internalization of an ordered process that will help a 3 year old child successfully clean a table and likewise help a 6 year old child solve a long division problem.