An Introduction to the Montessori Philosophy of Practical Life

When it comes to your child’s growth and development, it’s important to remember that honing intellectual skills alone is not enough. You need to prepare your little one for the world out there, so developing life skills are equally important. This is where Practical Life enters the picture.

What is Practical Life?

It is an area in the Montessori philosophy that covers fine motor skills involved in day-to-day tasks such as cleaning, preparing food, and even caring for the environment. Its goal is to help a child learn how to do even the most mundane daily activities purposefully. Practical life is also referred to as daily living exercises.

These exercises usually include but are not limited to the following:

  • Pouring and transferring different kinds of materials
  • Spooning
  • Carrying equipment
  • Washing hands
  • Wiping a mat
  • Watering plants
Why is Practical Life Important In A Child’s Education?

Practical Life aims to help your child gain better coordination of his movements. Like the little balls of energy that they are, they often tend to jump up and down and get overly excited. Daily living exercises will teach your child to control his movements better and develop their concentration. These engage their motor skills and empower them to eventually gain independence in their day-to-day activities.

What is the Logic Behind Practical Life Exercises?

During their formative years, children look up to the adults and become naturally interested in the activities that they do. Following this observation, Dr. Maria Montessori devised and began using Practical Life Exercises to allow the little ones to perform these daily activities. By allowing them to explore these in a safe environment, they will be able to adapt and orientate themselves in their society.

What are the Different Categories of Practical Life Exercises?

There are four different classifications of these exercises: Preliminary Applications, Applied Applications, Grace and Courtesy, and Control of Movement. You will learn more of these in detail in the sections below:

1. Preliminary Exercises

These activities aim to help your child learn the essential skills that are used in other tasks, such as pouring, cutting, folding, and carrying.

2. Applied Exercises

These are used to train your child to care for themselves and includes activities such as washing their hands and combing their hair. Additionally, these applied exercises also help them care for the environment through activities such as dusting a table, washing their own dishes, or sweeping the floor.

3. Grace and Courtesy Exercises

In these exercises, your child works on the proper ways to interact with others. This is where they will learn the polite way of asking for something as well as covering a sneeze or yawn and letting a person pass in front of them.

4. Control of Movement Exercises

In these exercises, your little one learns how to refine his or her movement and coordination. The activities commonly used for this are walking on a line, carrying a pitcher of water, or the Silence Game.


The task of pouring, cutting, folding, or carrying things may sound simple, but allowing your child to experience these at an early age gears them up towards independence. Furthermore, it enables them to slowly but surely pick up essential life skills to adapt to the society you are in. For this reason, enrolling your little ones in a school that values not only academic excellence but also practical life ensures that they will receive th. If you are looking for a Montessori school in New York for your precious one, consider enrolling them here at St. Aloysius Regional School. We’re the only school offering Montessori Pre-Kindergarten Programs for children aged 3-4 years old in the region. Get in touch today to learn how we can help your child be successful for life.