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A Montessori education addresses the needs of the whole child, not just "college and career readiness." If children are to become successful adults, they need practical day-to-day skills and a sense of responsibility to the larger community, too.
Practical Life Training
Each class has a specially prepared environment that allows for the children to practice life skills appropriate to their developmental stage. These skills range from tying shoes, buttoning shirts, ironing, cleaning, cooking, to planning a full-week trip to Washington, D.C. Practical life is a large part of the Montessori classroom.
Every child has the opportunity to perform service in their class. The small toddlers care for plans and assist the teachers with small tasks. The Primary students help each other and take their first trips to locations such as retirement homes. The Elementary students have greater responsibilities to each other and to the other children in the school. They may assist in the Toddler rooms by setting up nap mats and helping with the children. They may assist children in the Primary rooms, helping them with reading or other work. They visit retirement homes, organize fundraisers such as run-a-thons, and perform service work in the community.
Nutrition Education and Cooking
Students are taught about nutrition in class on a regular basis. Each class has access to a kitchen for food preparation instruction.
All classes have plants and outside gardens and students are involved in plant care. Many students are taught to cook with the harvests from their garden.
All classes have animals and students are involved in their daily care, including feeding, providing water, and cleaning them and their living environments.
All classes have lessons on the proper care of the classroom. Smaller children do individual tasks like cleaning and setting tables, cleaning windows, watering plants, sweeping floors, and similar tasks. Elementary classes typically hold "big clean" activities once a week, where every student cleans an assigned area of the classroom. If your child is complaining about chores at home, know that they are doing those chores in class so they have no excuses!