Fall harvest, hay rides, pumpkin picking, and, of course, children asked to make pumpkin 🍪cookies! Do you 🍴cook with your children? 👦🏼Adrian has been my little helper since he was two years old! And since he is not 📖 reading yet, I made this simple 📝 recipe with pictures of the ingredients and the quantity of each, so that Adrian can ✅check them off as he follows the steps. (You may download the 🎃Pumpkin 🍪Cookies recipe for your personal use here).
Did you know that children, starting at 15 months (and till about 6 years of age) have a sensitive period for 🙌🏻PRACTICAL LIFE activities, “having absorbed the world by an unconscious kind of intelligence, [a child] now ‘lays his hands’ to it…Now it is the ✋🏻hand as a ‘prehensile organ of the mind,’ not just the senses, that moves the child through a period of constructive ‘perfectionment’ – refining the acquisitions already made."– Dr. Maria Montessori.
Practical Life activities are one of the first lessons children are introduced to since these exercises are comforting due to its familiarity and relatable as the child sees us, adults, perform these activities that now the child will have the opportunity to participate in.
"The best instruction is that which uses the least words sufficient for the task."– Maria Montessori, The Discovery of the Child.
After adding an ingredient, Adrian would highlight it, checking it off.
“Imitation is the first instinct of the awakening mind.”– Dr. Maria Montessori.
"Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed." —Maria Montessori.
The child is by nature a worker, and when, by working in this special fashion, which is according to his nature, he can accomplish a great deal of work without ever feeling fatigue. When he works in this way he shows himself to be happy and by working in this way he also becomes cured of certain psychic anomalies that he had, and by curing himself of these he enters into a more natural form of life. (Dr. Maria Montessori, 'Child’s Instinct to Work', AMI Communications, 1973, 4, 9.)
Here is what Dr. Montessori had to say about Practical Life Activities:
The children of three years of age in the ‘Children’s Houses’ learn and carry out such work as sweeping, dusting, making things tidy, setting the table for meals, waiting at table, washing the dishes, etc., and at the same time they learn to attend to their own personal needs, to wash themselves, to take showers, to comb their hair, to take a bath, to dress and undress themselves, to hang up their clothes in the wardrobe, or to put them in drawers, to polish their shoes. These exercises are part of the method of education, and do not depend on the social position of the pupils; even in the ‘Children’s Houses’ attended by rich children who are given every kind of assistance at home, and who are accustomed to being surrounded by a crowd of servants, take part in the exercises of practical life . This has a truly educational, not utilitarian purpose.” (From Childhood to Adolescence, p. 66)
The reaction of the children may be described as a "burst of independence" of all unnecessary assistance that suppresses their activity and prevents them from demonstrating their own capacities. It is just these "independent" children of ours who learn to write at the age of four and a half years, who learn to read spontaneously, and who amaze everyone by their progress in arithmetic. These children seem to be precocious in their intellectual development and they demonstrate that while working harder than other children they do so without tiring themselves. These children reveal to us the most vital need of their development, saying: 'Help me to do it alone!'" (Dr. Maria Montessori, 'From Childhood to Adolescence', Clio Press Ltd, 65).
My advice is to start introducing Practical Life activities early, and you will be 😱amazed at the fortitude and desire these little people have to be a part of our 🌐world, to work side by side and emulate us, to become full citizens through work.
For more Fall activities, see here a round up of activities we have done during the months of September and October in a post "🍂Fall & 🎃Halloween Inspired Homeschooling 101 Unit Study." Or see here "🦃Thanksgiving Inspired Homeschooling 101 Unit Study." Also, you might want to see what we did that same year 🍁Fall 🎃 Inspired Activities for Children (2016).