What is practical life?
Augmenting academic learning is our need to develop equally important aspects of the child’s bodily growth and maturing mind. At Troutbeck we have an extensive Practical Life program to provide such mental and physical growth. Our curriculum provides activities based on:
- memory and perception
- motor skills and creativity
- food preparation and cooking
- fabric and crafts
- planting and gardening
- grace and courtesy
One might initial think that a topic such as fabric and crafts sounds a bit old fashioned and even boring for today’s fast moving world, but let’s think through the mental and physical skills that can be developed and applied outside of the academic setting. Making a hand puppet or friendship bracelet for example, develops motor skills and hand eye coordination (if you child is an incessant iPad user they may well start out being behind their peers in this aspect – see anecdote). Imagination needs to be stimulated and applied as patterns are created. Maths skills are put to the test through measuring and adding. Finally, the chance to create something fun or useful generates a sense of focus and concentration rather different to sitting in front of the television.
Thus, the above activities are fun and enjoyable in their own right but the important point is that they are all opportunities to see the child practice and apply both classroom learning and more fundamental skills. Each child is increasing his or her sense of independence by doing and making real things.
Ultimately we are developing a child’s sense of values, their independence, their ability to concentrate on a task, their ability to apply a logical sequence of steps through a recipe or instructions. They learn to care for themselves and value their surroundings, they enhance their own self confidence and self control.