Practical life exercises instill care for self, for others, and for the environment. These activities include some of the daily routines the child has already observed at home: preparing food, washing dishes, dressing oneself, and practicing accepted societal rules of grace and courtesy. Practical life activities serve to enhance muscular coordination, and to develop powers of concentration and control in the child that he will need for other work in the classroom.
Sensorial materials are designed to develop cognitive skills, and to help children classify and order impressions by touching, seeing, smelling, tasting, listening, and exploring all the physical properties of their environment.
Language development is vital to all human development. The Montessori classroom is rich in oral language opportunities, allowing the child to experience conversation, poetry, and stories. Children effortlessly link sound to symbol while tracing sandpaper letters with their fingers, thus encouraging the natural progression of written expression and reading skills.
Mathematical activities help children learn and understand the concepts of math by manipulating concrete materials. The work helps children acquire a solid understanding of basic mathematical principles, and prepares them for later abstractive reasoning.
Geography, biology, botany, zoology, art, and music are presented as extensions of language activities, and are integrated into the environment as part of the curriculum (rather than a separate, "special" activity or work time). Children learn about people and cultures in other countries with an attitude of respect and admiration. Through familiarity, children come to feel connected to the global human family. Lessons and experiences with nature inspire a reverence for all life. Art and music in the classroom give children the opportunity to enjoy creative activities, as well as gain knowledge of the great masters.