Region 3 Contact
Chair: Ruth Palmer
Counties: Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire
East Anglia Meetings
‘There’s so much more to Practical Life!’ with Lynnette Brock
Saturday 8 June 2019
Sunflower Montessori, Aldeburgh
We all like to be beside the seaside and that’s where around 30 of us went for our summer training day. Sadly it was typical British summer weather – windy and raining – however that meant that we were able to focus on the job in hand rather than be drawn to the beach!
We met at Sunflower Montessori Nursery School in Aldeburgh – a recent addition to Lucy Smith’s long established nursery in Saxmundham. On our arrival we were treated to some amazing home baked cakes with tea and coffee.
The training, entitled “There is more to Montessori’s Practical Life”, was delivered by Lynnette Brock – a favourite for our region who has now covered every area of the nursery over the last few years.
We started the day with a review of what we already knew about Practical Life (or Activities of Everyday Living for the more recently qualified!). We then moved on to something a bit different in terms of the ‘hand’, ‘goals’, ‘the motions in practical life activities’, and ‘perception of objects’. We also looked at ‘theory of mind’ and how this is very well supported in the use of, and resourcing of the Practical Life materials/area and why it is crucially important for supporting children’s empathy and social skills.
As always there was some hands-on engagement throughout the day and in one particular task we looked at the ‘goals’ and ‘schemes’ within the practical life activities (why movement alone is not enough to support neurological connections) and why it is necessary to consider and plan for the schemes that are applied by the child in the use of the practical life activities (such as transferring, sorting, polishing, threading) to a range of contexts that enable children’s ‘goals’.
After a delicious fish and chip lunch, we got active with the materials, thinking specifically around three themes – ‘order’, ‘clarity’, and ‘consistency’. Everyone buddied up to take turns in being a child and reporting back what it was like for them – what was good and what could perhaps be considered more.
We then looked at how Practical Life links to sustainable citizenship/Cosmic Education and what skills can be utilised to truly help the child develop a sense of agency in the promotion of care of pets/wildlife conservation, consumption and reduction. There was a discussion around how the children could use their skills from the Practical Life activities to recycle objects to support wildlife conservation such as bird feeders.
As always Lynnette totally inspired and enthused us and everyone left eager to try out their new skills and knowledge as soon as they got back to their settings.
Ruth Palmer, MSA Regional Chair, East Anglia