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Practical life: 1-year-old watering

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I’ve decided to start a new trend of sharing “Montessori Monday” blogs. So, here’s the first!

watering plants with kidsThink a 1-year-old is too young to do things like water the plants? Think again.

According to Montessori, this is a perfect age to begin what is called “Practical Life” lessons.  In Montessori, there are 4 main avenues of learning.  They are listed in no particular order, as they are used simultaneously.

The 4 Avenues of learning are:

  1. Practical Life
  2. Sensorial Development
  3. Development of Language
  4. Early Preparation of the Mathematical Mind

According to Age of Montessori, “Practical Life exercises help develop the sense of order, coordination of movement, concentration, and independence.  Children learn a sense of order as well as basic social skills through practical life tasks.  These lessons can be further separated into 4 main categories: care of self, care of the environment, grace and courtesy and refinement of movement.”  

He has a child-size broom, but prefers to use the big one...of course.:-)

He has a child-size broom, but prefers to use the big one…of course.:-)

So, we have started having our “Chunky Monkey” help out with watering the house plants, as his first “Practical Life” weekly task.  He is in a stage of life where he LOVES to do anything I am doing (sweeping and vacuuming are VERY popular right now too).  So, I figured, “Why not involve him in activities he can do?”  He also is really enjoying helping us “cook”, but I will post about that next Monday.:-)

How does it work?

Right now, I walk around with him and hold a part of the watering can, so water doesn’t get out of hand.  But over the next year, I should be able to increasingly step back my involvement in the task until we reach a stage where he has access to the watering can and a way to fill the can, and can do the job on his own (I figure this should be possible between age 2-3).  At the “watering station” (in the future), I’ll have a towel so he can clean up any messes that get made in the process.  The point is to have him do the task as much on his own as possible (even now) because that is what helps him to gain coordination, and increase his sense of self-confidence and  independence.  What a fun way for him to learn responsibility and to feel like a valuable member of our family, right?!

 

 

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  • Montessori Mama

    They are such enthusiastic little helpers at this stage aren’t they? My Little Bean loves watering plants. That was his first practical life activity. We bought him a kid size can so he can carry it himself. Occasionally I need to step in and help with aiming it. Since then, he’s added sweeping with a broom, putting dirty washing in the basket, putting washing into the machine, handing me clothes pegs, pouring water into a cup and his current favourite, putting rubbish in the bin. He is very enthusiastic about using the bin as we have a pedal bin with the flip-up lid. Very fun. Before you know it, your little one will be helping all day, every day. Enjoy it while it lasts. They’re not so enthusiastic about it when they hit their teens. LOL.

    • Flora

      lol! So true! But hopefully if we keep involving them in practical life activities they will be at least accustomed to helping with house work when they are older. That’s my hope anyway.:-)

  • Yuliya

    What a lovely post! I can’t remember when we even started with practical life – I think it was before I knew what montessori was, but just felt that my son was so interested in doing practical life based activities. I think I called them life skills at the time. Since then, he’s loved them so much. Watering plants is a perfect way to start, too! I think it’s so fun for them to take care of something 🙂 Now, at 2.5, my kiddo still gets so excited everytime he gets to do it 🙂

    • Flora

      Thanks so much Yuliya! Great to hear how it has progressed with your older child:-).

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Author: FLORA

I am a new post-career SAHM, living in Bozeman Montana. I share stories and ideas from parenting with a Montessori and Positive Discipline inspired perspective. Also, I LOVE DIY projects and finding great ways to use thrift store or hand-made toys for my little one.
Learn more about why I say I'm "Just" a stay-at-home mom.

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