Monday, May 6, 2013

Montessori Mondays: Concentration

Last week we took Coco on a boat ride on Lake Zurich and something she did caught me completely by surprise!


It was our first time taking her on the boat awake and we were not sure how it would go. Luckily, for the first twenty minutes or so, she was really fascinated by the wind in her hair, waving to the other passengers. After that wasn't fun anymore, I got out a juice box I had brought along for her. We normally don't give her juice boxes.  She was amazed for a while with it. Then the straw came out and she couldn't figure out how to get any more juice out of it. Before I could stop her, she flipped it upside down and poured juice all over her chair.  I handed her a wet wipe and said, "Uh-oh, there is some juice on your chair, you can clean it up."

She wiped it all up and then turned to me enthusiastically and said, "More!" I had heard a story about a similar situation from the owner of the Montessori school I taught at for a year in Phoenix. She had taught a little girl to clean up a spill with a sponge and bucket and the little girl got into such a zone of concentration and satisfaction, that when she was done, she poured the bucket out in order to do it all over again.
That story had stuck with me and I knew just what Coco wanted. I showed her how to shake a bit more juice onto the seat of the chair. 
Then I told her she could return the juice box to J to hold on to for her. 
For the next 45 minutes, she happily shook juice onto her chair and then diligently wiped it up. She got deep into a meditative zone of concentration and was obviously very satisfied and proud of her work. I was in complete awe. It was also rather awesome that we had an occupied toddler and could just sit back and enjoy the view! ;)
Watching her, I realized that if we as parents are paying attention, we can notice and make these spontaneous experiences happen for our children all the time. I also thought how lucky Coco was to be having a real life experience that motivated her, instead of being given some stupid light-up toy or App to keep her quiet and docile. It was inspiring! The Practical Life area of the Montessori classroom is devoted to giving children the opportunity to develop and sustain the power of concentration through hands-on work done with real objects. I've made it my goal to be observant and strive to allow for happy little happenstances like this one as much as possible. What sort of everyday activities is your child interested in? Do you allow him or her to take part in them?

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