Diving Deeper into Practical Life
Practical Life Extended
What is executive functioning?
Connections to Practical Life
To develop working memory, older students plan service projects while younger students navigate hands-on materials. First, students are guided to follow systematic processes (like washing a window) that eventually lead to independent planning (like engineering a garden bed). Additionally, students of all ages encounter classroom systems that also guide working memory such as keeping their classrooms tidy and their belongings organized. These activities support children’s and adolescents’ abilities to process information and solve problems.
Likewise, cognitive flexibility is supported by switching practical life tasks. Some classes have classroom jobs like sweeping the floor or watering plants. When a student is absent, another student will assume the absent student’s responsibility. Furthermore, students regularly ask each other for help before requesting an adult’s intervention. Often, a student will politely and voluntarily shift their focus to help a classmate; then, happily return to their original task. These activities support children’s and adolescents’ abilities to switch gears.
Moreover, the attraction of practical life materials and activities stimulate self-control. Our culture of grace and courtesy instills patience and sharing. Therefore, a student will wait for another student to finish using a beautiful practical life work and return it to its exact place on the shelf before they choose the work for themselves. Sometimes, students observe in the foreground, waiting in awe until the work is available to them. Older students will team together and excitedly share responsibilities instead of shirking or monopolizing intended group work. Often, their participation is naturally elicited by the appeal of the task itself rather than the coaxing of an adult guide. These stimulating activities support children’s and adolescents’ abilities to self regulate.
The World Beyond
Across our spacious and inviting campus, throughout our tidy and beckoning hallways, in every airy and bright classroom, practical life works and activities help prepare IMS students for future responsibilities. Executive functioning is significant to not only academic benefits but also practical responsibilities well beyond students’ time at IMS. IMS students and alumni are longitudinally supported by the dedicated service of our teaching staff and administration.