Activities called daily life skills or daily life practices in Montessori education consist of studies that are carried out to support children’s self-care skills and motor skills, prepare the child for life, make him independent and help him develop sensitivity towards the environment. Daily life skills, which correspond to self-care skills in the MEB pre-school education program; It includes activities such as washing, dusting, ironing, drying the spilled water, washing the dishes, arranging the flowers, vacuuming, and polishing the shoes, as well as exercises for psychomotor development and opening doors for the environment. Basic exercises such as greetings, courtesy, silence, and environmental exercises are studies that help children become citizens of the world.
Children who perform their daily life exercises and self-care skills independently in Montessori classrooms develop a greater sense of self-confidence and acquire the habit of cleaning. Daily living skills not only provide children with self-care skills, but also help them refine their senses. For example, a child washing hands can easily work with touch tablets because his fingertips become sensitive. Buddha contributes to the cognitive, emotional and cognitive development of children. Therefore, the work of the child on numerous daily living skills provides important opportunities to support holistic development.
Daily Living Skills
The first step of Montessori education is daily life exercises that will encourage children to be self-confident and experience the joy of doing something (Tubaki & Matsuishi, 2008). For this purpose, culturally appropriate educational materials are prepared in a suitable size that will enable each child to perform movements and operations in daily life without any problems. These include work on basic life skills such as carrying small items and walking and buttoning up. In this way, children can learn similar movements spontaneously and improve their abilities. However, they cannot learn these skills unless such an environment is consciously provided by the adult.
Montessori education offers the children skills such as carrying the things they like to do in daily life, sweeping, washing, plant care in the classroom environment. Montessori argues that children develop these practices through repetition. These practical skills are taught to children through demonstration and not verbal instructions.In Montessori education, daily life skills consist of activities that focus on the hands and serve to combine home life and education. In daily life skills, real materials that culturally compatible children see in daily life are used. Thus, the child learns the real properties of things without pretending. Ex: knife cuts, water spills, glass breaks.
Daily life skills enable the child to use their hands consciously with natural materials and support small muscle development. The skills aimed to be acquired by children in the studies carried out are the prerequisites of each other. For example, drying work that provides wrist mobility is preparation for writing to be done in the coming years. Children, whose hand muscles and skills are sufficiently developed in their daily life skills, also gain a sense of aesthetics thanks to these materials. Features such as the arrangement of materials, color harmony, and durability provide both the development of aesthetic sense and increased internal motivation in the child.
Daily living skills give children the opportunity to observe adults and imitate what they do. Children who work in a concentrated manner learn to concentrate and focus on the work, with the sequence presented in daily living skills. While error control is ensured in studies on daily life skills, the child does not have difficulty in studies that the child cannot do. While applying daily life skills and other activities, it is ensured that the child is on the left side of the teacher so that he can see all the stages of the work better.
In the Montessori education approach, while children experience basic life skills such as greeting, yawning, coughing in the classroom, they also master simple operations such as cleaning, preparing food, and polishing shoes, which are not seen in other approaches in early childhood education, by practicing. Although the importance of daily life education is understood today, it is possible and quite important to place an emphasis on it in the education program as early as a century ago, since Montessori is a woman. These practices help children learn about their role in the family and become conscious of their position. Children who help adults may continue to feel like family members. In this way, Montessori has combined education and family life.
For daily life skills in Montessori education; Various practices are carried out for movement coordination, self-care, exercises related to the environment, social behavior patterns, movement and silence exercises. In Montessori classrooms, activities such as movement training, gymnastics for the development of physical coordination and balance, and rhythmic exercises are carried out within the scope of daily life activities. These studies not only support children’s physical development, but also gain study habits such as self-discipline and attention. Silence education, which is one of these studies, is the way of adapting to the rule of society and the rule of adults in the Montessori approach. While helping to transfer this culture, it enables children to adopt an adult lifestyle. For Montessori, recklessness, aimless movements and the relentless running around of children are only manifestations of disorder and weakness. This situation is a result of the education system put forward by unhappy adults. For this reason, Montessori has demonstrated the importance of preparing children for life from an early age by developing an educational approach that supports their freedom and expressing themselves through purposeful actions.
In Montessori education, there is a set of each material in the classroom. While the same practice is applied in daily life skills, only the materials that get wet, dirty or need to be changed (apron, tablecloth, soap, etc.) always have spares in a suitable cupboard in the classroom, and in this way, the child will regularly use the material set for the first time after practicing his daily life skills. can replace it by making it the way it is used. Thus, thanks to daily life skills, many skills such as respect, empathy, taking their turn, respecting the rights of others and problem solving are developed in children.
The materials used in daily life practices in Montessori classrooms are prepared in harmony with the culture. Teachers can use the materials and materials they have prepared in accordance with their classrooms, as well as use the materials that are readily available, as well as making applications to gain daily life skills. In Montessori education, applications and materials for daily life skills can be listed as follows.
Studies with Daily Life Materials
Activity Name: Moving a Chair
Age group: 2.5+
Acquisitions and Indicators: Using the living space correctly, preventing noise pollution, walking in a balanced way with the things in hand, coordination and control of movement, being respectful to the things one uses.
Learning Process: The educator goes to the child and offers him an offer, saying, “I want to carry a chair with you today.” Come to the chair with the accepting child. The child follows him to the left of the educator. The educator grasps the leaning part of the chair with his left hand, grabs the seat with his right hand, and maintains eye contact with the child. First the front legs and then the hind legs are lifted one by one. Walk without bumping into the surroundings, and the chair is slowly placed on the ground, first the back feet and then the front feet. When the process is completed, the chair is taken back to the place where it was taken.
Error Control: Chair making noise, overturning, hitting left and right
Words and concepts: chair, chair leg, carrying chair
Adaptation: The disabled child can be watched more, the teacher can set an example for a longer period of time and have it done at the right time.
Event Name: Carpet Transport, Laying and Collecting
Age group: 2.5+
Acquisitions and Indicators: Movement coordination and careful work. Accomplishing work on one’s own and preparing the workplace on one’s own. Accurate perception of its environment and its own location.
Learning Process: The educator goes to the child and offers him an offer, saying, “I want to carry, lay and collect carpets with you today.” The child who accepts comes to the carpet cabinet with the child. The child follows him next to the educator. The trainer holds the rolled carpet from the top with his left hand and the bottom of the rolled carpet with his right hand and takes it. Makes eye contact with the child. It keeps the carpet in the same way and carries it to the place where it wants to be laid. The trainer lays the carpet on the floor with the fold forward and, kneeling, slowly unrolls the roll forward. The educator continues to make eye contact with the child. After laying, stand up and go around the carpet to check whether it is laid on the right place. While the carpet is being collected, the educator sits on the carpet by kneeling. It starts to roll the carpet starting from the top. At the same time, the rings on the edges are checked. The educator continues to make eye contact with the child. When the rolling process of the carpet is completed, it is held by the edges of the carpet and placed in the cupboard from the top by holding it with the left hand, with the folds in front.
Error Control: Opening the carpet while carrying it, not being able to fit on the floor to be laid, bumping the carpet around.
Words and Concepts: Carpet, roll, carry, lay, collect.
Adaptation: Children with disabilities or small children can be assisted when the carpet is removed from the closet, moved or unfolded.
Event Name: Spooning from one bowl to another
Age group: 2.5+
Learning Outcomes and Indicators: Learning to use a spoon. Self-employment and independence. Careful and careful work. Developing hand-eye coordination.
Learning Process: The educator goes to the child and offers the child an offer, saying, “I want to spoon with you today.” The child who accepts comes to the cupboard where the spooning tray is located. The child follows him to the left of the educator. The educator or, if he has done this before, the child receives the tray. He takes it to the table to be worked on and leaves it centered. The child sits to the left of the educator. In the tray, the full bowl is on the left, the empty bowl is on the right, the spoon is in the middle. The trainer takes the spoon with his right hand and holds it with three fingers. Then he fills the spoon and waits for a while for the excess to fall off. Meanwhile, he makes eye contact with the child. He carries the spoon and pours it into the empty bowl. During the study, eye contact continues and movement is slow. The child can continue to study if he/she wishes. The spoon pours inward but alternatively it can pour outward. When the spooning process is completed, the spoon is placed in front of the tray, the full bowl is supported by both hands on the left side, and the empty bowl is placed on the right side. The tray is checked, any spilled lentils are collected with the help of three fingers. Then the full bowl is placed on the left side, the empty bowl on the right side, with the spoon in the middle. The child is asked if he wants to do it. He makes room if he wants. When the work is finished, the tray is taken and taken to its place with the child.
Bug Control: Spilled lentils and bowl locations.
Material: Two bowls, a spoon, lentils, tray.
Words and Concepts: Lentils, bowl, spooning, empty-full.
Adaptation: can work with less material, be supported in the study, and get more monitoring