One of the core areas of Montessori education at the preschool/kindergarten (referred to as Children's House) is Practical Life. This might be called self-help skills or independence in other preschool programs, but practical life covers a variety of life skills and give the children a way to contribute to the maintenance and preservation of their environments, in this case our home.
The lists below make look extensive, but the boys want to be with us and participating in our day. I do not have to push them to do these activities, just offer reminders when they need to be done and offer support as needed. It make sometimes take them longer than it would take me to do the same job, but at what cost? I see only the benefits to having them accept these activities as normal and necessary, not something to be dreaded. They have also learned that many hands make light work and that if they help me with my work I will have more time spend playing games, snuggling, and reading stories!
Some of the practical life skills that our boys are working on right now:
Caleb- Washing Dishes, Folding & Putting away towels, Dusting, Sweeping, Dressing, Putting away toys correctly Brushing Teeth, Washing himself (particularly his hands and face), Sorting Recycling, Washing counters and tables, Blowing his nose, Using his inhaler
Aidan- Washing Dishes, Putting away dishes, Folding & Putting away laundry, Making His Bed, Simple Cooking, Simple Sewing, Washing his hair, Sweeping, Washing Windows, Vacuuming, Composting (what can be composted & emptying the house bucket into the outside bucket),
Setting the Table
Since I love pictures, here is Caleb working on rinsing dishes and putting them on the drying rack (note the Bob the Builder apron)