One aspect of the Practical Life curriculum for early childhood students that generates a lot of interest is the "pouring work." The most common type of pouring work is wet pouring or water pouring (as opposed to pouring small solid objects).
Practical Life Activities
As with all Practical Life materials and activities, pouring work helps children develop confidence, strength, and skill, so that they can accomplish the sorts of activities that they want to help with at home. Pouring is something that many children are interested in helping with, but it requires a complex set of skills to accomplish.
The Pouring Lesson
The goal of the work is simple: to transfer liquid from one pitcher to another, without spilling.
The set-up of this work is also rather simple, consisting of a water vessel with a pour spout, and receptacles to pour the water into. Generally, glass or porcelain is used during practical life lessons, to simulate real-world situations where objects might be breakable or fragile.
Young children are inherently drawn to water activities, which is what makes this activity so successful for developing concentration and motor skills. Children enjoy concentrating on the act of pouring, and they enjoy the immediate feedback provided by the activity. If done right, there are no spills, and your receptacle vessel is satisfyingly full.
To reach this point, though, takes careful manipulation of the pouring vessel with the dominant hand; hand and arm strength to lift and steady the pitcher; and continued concentration and motor control to pour, stop, and replace the pitcher. These are all skills that will contribute to success in school and life. The practical life lessons, specifically water pouring, allow students to practice these skills in a fun and meaningful way.
Wet pouring work is always a favorite in Montessori Early Childhood classrooms. Children use real world materials to practice pouring water from one vessel to another, while simultaneously building a number of related skills that will serve them well in the classroom and in real life situations.