I feel like one of the biggest misconception about kids is that they lack the ability to concentrate for more than a few minutes at a time. Montessori says we must trust that children are capable — especially preschoolers who crave repetition and mastery in their new skills. When Mary was a toddler, we went to a playgroup & I was so embarrassed that while all the other kids flitted from toy to toy station, she carefully & precisely scooped water into a cup, dumped it & started over — for an hour. I thought, what is wrong with my kid that she just mindlessly ignores everything & is captivated by something so basic? But the truth is that careful attention to detail, honed concentration is the foundation of learning. Those executive functioning skills that are so crucial to secondary education and responsible adulthood — that starts with knowing how to concentrate. So how do we foster this skill? Maria Montessori observed, “The first essential for the child’s development is concentration. The child who concentrates is immensely happy.” .
We observe our kids. Are they happy in their work? If not how can we inspire them to love learning? It isn’t in expensive materials, no so many Montessori works are handmade. If we take away the screens, if we let the child choose real work with their two hands, we can see what their minds are hungry for & then we can keep feeding their appetite for learning. As my kids get older & into elementary I have been racing to keep up with them. Sometimes I feel behind, but I remind myself I’m human & one person. I remind myself that an open heart and homeschool is already a prepared environment; it’s receptive to them; it respects their uniqueness and abilities, the dignity of the child. .
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