Thursday, 7 September 2017

Simplifying Montessori: The Value of Concentration

Before I start this post I wanted to precursor it with something else I thought was important to note.

Do you ever read my blog, or any other Montessori blogs, and think, of course this works for their kids, they are obviously more naturally inclined to concentration, are less energetic than mine, are better listeners.

Or anything else along these lines?

Nope, Montessori Is Supposed to "Work" For Everyone

First of all, I would say, head here to read about Jerome's violent behavior and here to read about one of the phases he has gone through (aggressiveness has definitely been one of the most reoccurring issues we have had to deal with).

While we are always working toward certain things like returning works to shelves and toys to proper baskets, sitting at the table during meal times, and using manners, he is far from mastering any of these, and we have our difficult days.

Our family is a fairly typical one, working on communication, patience, and cooperation.

With that being said, Maria Montessori truly believed her method was beneficial for every child, not just those especially predisposed to obedience and focused work.

In fact, her first Children's Houses were in the poorest of neighbourhoods and the children who first came to her were from the roughest of families. It was from these children, she saw her first breakthroughs.

What, exactly, caused these breakthroughs in these average children?

Maria Montessori believed - supported by years of study and observation, that all defects in children were caused by "insufficient nourishment of the life of the mind."

When children came to her Children's Houses they were surrounded by interesting work with freedom to choose and repeat exercises if desired. Once these children could become immersed in concentration during this work, their defects unanimously disappeared.

Really Quite Simply, Children Need Work
Maria Montessori  said: the first essential for the child's development is concentration. It lays the whole basis for his character and social behaviour. He must find out how to concentrate, and for this he needs things to concentrate upon. [Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind, pg 222]

This type of claim may seem fantastical, and maybe raises all kinds of questions, but I love this foundational simplicity of Montessori.

Children need to concentrate.
Unless children are given the opportunity to work and concentrate, they will not develop to their full capacity.

  • Every young child is its own teacher, responding to natural laws within themselves which are working to form their character and necessary abilities
  • It is our job as parents to provide our children with an environment rich in motives that will encourage concentration in response to their needs
  • These motives will be best understood by us, as our children's most intimate assistants, if we are careful to observe and to prepare our environment with our children's specific interests in mind

What I Have Found

Practically in our own home, I see immense improvements, even day to day, when the boys are given opportunities to immerse themselves in work, as compared to days when they are not.

This is partially why I limit their screen time.

In fact, I have come to find that on Jerome's most difficult days, if I make a special effort to entice him to some work which I know will interest him, a puzzle, a game, a craft, a beloved book his entire demeanour will shift.

Thank you so much for reading! For more posts in my simplifying Montessori series: Practical Life | Following The Child | The Work Cycle | Obedience and Self-Discipline

If you have any questions about Montessori or our family, please feel free to contact me either through the blog, Instagram, or Bloglovin'. I will do my best to answer your questions, or will point you in the direction of another Montessorian I know will be able to assist you.

Have a great day,

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