Practical Life Exercises can be categorized into four different groups: Preliminary Applications, Applied Applications, Grace and Courtesy, and
Control of Moment. In the Preliminary Exercises, the child learns the basic movements common to all societies such as pouring, folding, and
carrying. In the Applied Exercises, the child learns about the care and maintenance. These activities are, for example, the care of the person
(i.e. the washing of the hand) and the care of the environment (i.e. dusting a table or outdoor sweeping).
In the Grace and Courtesy Exercises, the children work on their interactions with other people.In the Control of Movement Exercises, the child learns about his or her own motions and learns how to refine his coordination through such activities as walking on the line.
Dr. Montessori observed the child’s need for order, repetition, and succession in movements.
Characteristics of Practical Life
Because Practical Life Exercises are meant to help the child perform everyday activities, it is important that all materials be familiar, real, breakable, and functional. The materials must also be related to the child’s time and culture. In order to allow the child to fully finish the exercise and to therefore finish the full cycle of the activity, the material must be complete, orderly and not missing any pieces.
The Directress may want to color code the materials as well as arrange the materials based on difficulties in order to facilitate the classification and arrangements of the work by the children.
The attractiveness is also of utmost importance as Montessori believed that the child must be offered what is most beautiful and pleasing to the eye so as to help the child enter into a “more refined and subtle world”