Washing Hands

July 11, 2017
The Washing Hands activity in a Montessori classroom is a key element of the practical life area.

One of the favorite activities in the Montessori classroom is, perhaps surprisingly, learning how to wash your hands.


Why is it important to learn how to wash your hands? Well, there are a number of reasons.


First, and perhaps most importantly, is the development of the skill of learning how to wash your hands – a child seeing their dirty hands become clean.


Second, and just as relevant, is the development of independence, concentration and the coordination of movement. These three pillars of practical life activities are essential to the activity of Washing Hands, and are exemplified by a child’s engagement with the work.


As you can see from the photographs, the materials used in this activity often consist of an apron to protect a child’s clothes, a basin in which to wash their hands, a jug by which to transfer the water, a bucket to help with clean up, a hand towel, a dry towel, and a bar of soap and soap dish.


Maria Montessori, a trained physician, recognized the importance of cleanliness, and sought to teach children at an early age how to incorporate this practical life skill into their daily lives. This is, perhaps, the overarching theme as to why she introduced washing hands as an activity. Personal hygiene is a life skill.

There’s more than meets the eye with the Washing Hands activity.

As a note: These encyclopedia posts are meant for a general audience mainly consisting of parents. They are not intended for Montessori educators.

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