Care of Environment

One of the 4 components of Practical life exercises is “Care of environment”.

Here’s what Dr. Maria Montessori said about this topic:

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. 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.”

(From Childhood to Adolescence, p. 66)

Toddlers and primary children are prepared to do tasks for themselves like dressing themselves, comb their hair etc, take care of environment by dusting, sweeping, folding laundry, watering plants, polishing leaves , taking care of pets etc.

Through these activities- children learn life skills, feel a sense of belonging to the community,learn to be kind and loving, feel empathy and compassion for others including animals, be responsible and better their problem solving skills.

Let’s have children build those life skills by encouraging them to help with folding laundry, set the table for dinner, water the plants, feed the pets, help dust and sweep the home, clean the windows etc. An opportunity to help, strengthen finger and hand muscles, prepare for language and math activities in the future and more importantly help with self-regulation.

Check montessorireflections_geetha on Instagram for videos/pictures of “care of environment” activities for children.

Published by

Geetha Nagarajan

My name is Geetha. I was introduced to Montessori as a parent and then choose it to be my career. I have over 13 years of experience in a Montessori primary classroom. I have a Masters Degree in Plant Sciences from India and a Masters in Educational Leadership from UNT (Denton, TX) and my Montessori Early childhood certification from American Montessori Society (AMS).

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