Apple Montessori Blog

Benefits of real-life activities and materials in the Apple Montessori classroom


Within Apple Montessori Schools’ classrooms, we engage children in purposeful and practical activities, such as washing dishes, sweeping, preparing food, setting a table, cleaning up, and watering plants. During these activities, students learn to use “real” materials safely and appropriately. Students wash real dishes with water and soap bubbles, chop carrots and core apples for healthy snacks and even practice grace and courtesy by offering a serving to their classmates. All of this start to finish, which includes prepping, making a “mess” and cleaning up.

Why is using real materials important?

By teaching and trusting a child to use “real” materials, we foster a sense of accomplishment and self-esteem, while developing fine motor skills and concentration. Dr. Maria Montessori, the founder of the Montessori philosophy, believed that children inherently want to do things for themselves. When a child says, “I can do it myself,” it’s a victory in their self-development and confidence.

One of the most important life lessons that practical life activities teach is self-reliance. When a child focuses on understanding and completing a purposeful task, they are building trust and confidence in their own abilities. According to Dr. Montessori, “The greatest gifts we can give our children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence.”

Developing the “whole” child

At Apple Montessori Schools, we believe in developing and nurturing the whole child ― physically, emotionally, academically and socially ― to help them realize their full potential. By using real materials for meaningful learning experiences in the classroom, there is a connection between the child and reality. Dr. Montessori believed that education centers on hands-on practical engagement and direct interaction within their environment. Teachers guide childrens’ activities within the classroom and provide an opportunity to practice what they are learning. Engaging in real activities helps develop abilities and self-control, both physically and mentally, for self-reliance and independence.

Respecting their environment and fostering a sense of belonging

Children take part in tasks to maintain order within the classroom, teaching life-long lessons of personal responsibility. From washing dishes to watering plants and sweeping floors, children learn to take responsibility and gain an appreciation for their environment. By cleaning up after themselves, they learn about taking personal responsibility for their actions as part of a community, whether in the classroom or home environment.
When children participate in life’s daily activities using real materials in the classroom or at home, they gain an appreciation for their environment and realize how they can contribute in a meaningful, practical way to impact the happiness of others. Through skill-building, self-awareness, cooperation, and respectful observance of others, children learn that every person has a role to play in improving their community and the lives within it.

“Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.” – Dr. Maria Montessori