Everything you do for a child that he can
do for himself is an obstacle to his development.
~ Dr. Maria Montessori
I just love Montessori education. I especially love how it has taught me to stop, take a breath or two, and simply observe (rather than zoom around from one thing to another). And when one steps back and watches a young child, we can see how often s/he actually creates her own work! Of course, this is in contrast to looking at the child with our overtired, end of day adult-eyes and wishing they’d stop moving so much, touching everything and tossing everything to the floor!
As adults we are so used to living our lives on our own timetables that it’s difficult to slow down and let our children come to their own conclusions about things. Have you ever noticed how often we interrupt our children when they are engrossed in a task? How we find that we need to comment on how cute it is that they are all focused and busy, ask them about it, or participate in what they are doing!??! How often do we find ourselves taking advantage of the “learning opportunity” and telling them all the answers to their problems?
When my daughters and their friends were younger they loved found treasure (well, actually, they still do!). You know, like rocks, sticks and leaves – but they especially loved scrap pieces of fabric. They would roll the various textures and patterned fabric pieces over and over again and place them side by side; other times they would simply fold and sort them. I watched them work alone, sometimes they worked together deep in great conversation, as they repeated their task over and over AND over again. Did they stack them perfectly? Did they roll them straight? Not at first. But eventually they were stunning masters.
Even today, I still find myself standing back and just watching my (now) middle school-aged daughters and their friends. And I am still amazed with their young minds and how naturally intent they are at focusing, repeating, practicing, and developing their own personalized love of learning.
That pattern of repetition is what tells us that the child is creating her own work and is meeting a basic innate need to teach herself. Repetition is one of the basic human tendencies that Maria Montessori noted through her scientific observations. She reported that repetition is what allows humans to learn and strive towards mastery and independence. It is through repetition that children are able to discover their own errors, learn how to correct them, and master a skill!! Repetition and mastery of skills creates a positive outlook within children and increases the likelihood of them being intrinsically motivated to learn for life.
It is well to cultivate a friendly feeling towards error,
to treat it as a companion inseparable from our lives,
as something having a purpose, which it truly has.
~Dr. Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind
There are many blogs that have posted on the wonderment of repetition.
1) This post, (click on –>) Repeat… and Repeat Again is worth taking your time to read.
2) Baan Dek articulates it well: “Why repetition? Well, it helps us focus. It helps us concentrate. It gives us confidence. It also helps us to “perfect” and refine our senses, as we learn to navigate and appreciate the world. Repetition takes perseverance and determination. What beautiful characteristics to develop.” Be sure to click on the blue, bolded text to read the entire article.
3) The author of the blog titled Montessori, a Candid Approach shared her thoughts on repetition. Here is one quote that resonated with me: “Coming to one’s own conclusions, making and self correcting one’s own mistakes and learning through one’s own repetition is far more fruitful and long lasting. It is this experience that makes learning fun and lively. This important freedom to repeat and explore instills lifelong love and thrust for learning and exploration in a child which is utmost necessary to progress in practical life.” Again, it’s worth taking the time to read the entire article.
As adults, we need to allow our children to make connections and discover their own errors (without us pointing out the errors to them). The Montessori primary classroom is a prepared environment with materials that provide feedback so that the children learn from their OWN errors, and thus they become internally driven to repeat the exercises until they master them. It’s such a great place to grow and learn. I’m so happy you send your child to my classroom. Thank you.
Happy weekend to you all! Enjoy the value of repetition, the extra hour of sleep (or play), and the lovely sunny, crisp air. xo
Peace, love and light,
The Cylinder Blocks Food Preparation