In today’s society it seems more and more that kids are entering teen and adulthood without knowing many of the practical life skills needed to be successful in this world. While many children learn these skills at home there is still a need for schools to play a role in the teaching of these valuable skills. Unfortunately, most schools don’t teach practical life skills anymore like in decades past. At Main Street School, teaching this skills are an integral part of each student’s day.
Practical Life activities are the activities of everyday life and they are involved in all aspects of life. The child observes these activities in the environment and gains knowledge through the real experience of how to accomplish life skills in a purposeful way. These activities are cultural and specific to the child’s time and place. Practical life activities help give the child a sense of being and belonging, established through participation in daily life with us. Through practical life the child learns about his culture and all about what it is to be human.
At Main Street School these Practical Life Exercises begin in our Primary Class (ages 3-6). The practical life exercises learned here can be divided up into three main areas:
- Care of Environment – Pouring, spooning, sweeping, cloth folding, dish washing, and taking care of animals and plants.
- Care of the Person – Buttoning, zipping, snapping, tying, hand washing, baby doll washing, basic cooking skills
- Grace & Courtesy – Consist of things such as walking, sitting, greeting others, manners (please, thank you, and “May I”) how to interrupt a teacher or another child (“Excuse me” and tapping a teacher on the shoulder and waiting to be responded to), passing objects, following directions, how to open and close a door, and control of body through silence games.
All of these exercises translates into increased independence, improved motor skills, improved problem solving and a greater sense of order.
Main Street’s Elementary Practical Life curriculum is a continuation of the practical life skills presented and practiced in the primary classroom. Skills pertaining to care of self, care of environment and living things, along with grace and courtesy are still important; however, these activities now begin to take the children outside of the classroom and into the greater community. While the activities may change, these skills are just as important in the upper elementary, middle school, and even high school years.
The exercises in Practical Life also serve an important social purpose. Children become more self-aware which helps them develop empathy and sensitivity to others. It is because of this greater sensitivity to others that community service projects are a big part of the upper elementary Practical Life curriculum. Additionally, Practical Life activities help foster self-discipline, self-reliance as well as teaching children how to concentrate and cooperate.
Find out more about how your child can learn practical life skills at school. Schedule a tour of Main Street School today! Send us a message or call 515-981-1275.