Children need ample time to create, think, and work. Compressing a child’s work time to fit our busy schedules can be frustrating for the child and ultimately counterproductive.
A while ago, I sat in amazement as I watched two-year olds “perform” during an admission intake for our Twos Program. Essentially, six children are set free in the classroom and encouraged by their parents or a teacher to engage in an activity. A book, a ball, a bunny, a sink, or a marker can catch their fancy.
On this special morning, I had the occasion to watch Kari do her thing. With much concentration and determination she was engrossed in an individual activity. A basket with four-inch round head screws and a six-inch tall jar that is used for sprinkling parmesan cheese is all this child – mind you, a two-year old child - needed for her half-hour activity. Once the teacher demonstrated how you place a screw in the hole, the child was off and running.
Maybe it is the feeling of accomplishment, or maybe it is the sound the threads the screw makes when it is inserted into the hole of the metal cap. Whatever it is, children need time to explore, create, and discover their world. Dr. Montessori stressed the uninterrupted work cycle so that children can become engaged in the work – engaged in a way that allows them to concentrate and discover at their own pace.