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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Don't break my concentration!

Whenever my daughter is deeply involved in an activity I literally tip toe around my apartment to allow her to keep enjoying her "work". But of course when I try to be the most quiet that's the time when I accidentally drop a pot or slam a cupboard or something. And then, pitter patter, little one is right there wanting to help me or wanting me to help her :)

I have been reading "Montessori from the Start, the Child at Home, from Birth to Age Three" by Lillard & Jessen (a must read if you have any interest in Montessori for your little one!)

I came across something that supports my anal need for quietness in my home when my daughter is occupied...I thought I would share :)

"In creating an environment that encourages concentration, it is important to remember that if the child becomes conscious of anything other than the task at hand, his concentration is broken. (so true for my daughter!) By applauding, saying "wonderful", giving a kiss or whatever, the well-meaning adult draws the child's attention to the adult and away from the task at hand. Too much such interference, and the child becomes self-conscious. When we are self-conscious, it is very hard to concentrate on the task at hand, whatever our age. To see this we only have to remember the problems we have in sports when we let our thoughts stray to the impression we are making on onlookers, or in giving a speech when we focus on our appearance instead of the audience and the message we want to give. When the child becomes deeply and constructively absorbed in a task, it is important to avoid drawing his attention to what the adults around him are thinking of what he is doing."

Lillard & Jessen go on to address the importance in encouraging and developing a child's concentration from very young. Today the numbers of children with attention problems have skyrocketed, why? There could be a number of factors but one that they present is that it may be possible that just as there is a Sensitive Period for language from birth to age 6, is it possible that there is "Sensitive period for the development of sustained attention - a time period when the child should have developed concentration and not having done so is handicapped for the rest of his life?"

When walking into a Montessori classroom, one is almost always struck by the peacefulness of the environment. Children, even at a very young age, are busy with their work. Busy furthering their self-formation in an environment that lets them concentrate and work as they will.

I just love the Montessori Philosophy, can you tell?


I've got two more activities to share with you as well. :)

The first is another sorting activity and you won't have to buy anything for this one!

Who loves beans? My daughter does, but not to eat, to sort.

Put two or more different kinds of beans in a bowl and sort them into their own containers. I used garbanzo and pinto beans here. It is amazing how such a simple activity can occupy a child for so long! (once again adult supervision is a must for this activity as it uses small objects)

The second activity is flash cards!

Now, I HATED flash cards growing up. I remember doing math flashcards with my mom and I dreaded them.

My daughter on the other hand LOVES them.

I purchased ABC and shape flashcards from Target before going on a plane ride with my daughter, hoping to keep her occupied with something new. She was 18 months at the time. She sat for an entire hour in my lap on the plane looking at the ABC cards. Coming home from the trip the cards made an appearance every day, she loved them. And I am very proud to say that by 19 months she knew her entire alphabet by sight and could pronounce(for the most part) each letter. She also knows her shapes too! Although octagon and pentagon pretty much sound the same coming out of her mouth :)

Children just crave learning! It really is amazing how much they absorb and how much they want to absorb it!

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