Due to my older children memorizing a poem about work, I too have found the following sing-song words embedded in my brain.
Work while you work,
Play while you play.
This is the way to be happy each day.
In all that you do,
Do with your mite.
Things done by halves,
Are never done right.
It is a good poem. The kids delighted in committing it to memory and I left it at that. Recently, after reading more in Montessori at Home by John Bowman, I realized how important work is to a child.
Maria Montessori said,
The child can develop fully by means of experience in his environment. We call such experiences “work.” Such experience is not just play . . . It is work he must do in order to grow up.
Ever find yourself grinding your teeth when sticky little hands want to help you wash the window? or a delighted three foot child squirms with excitement because he washed your dishes?
They are learning. Remember this. Learning. Engaging with their world and modeling what they see YOU doing. You are all grown up and they want to be all “growed” up like you.
Through work your child is learning how to concentrate. Initially you may find that your Tot isn’t all that interested in that creative activity you made for her. Don’t give up. She has to learn to FOCUS her attention. The specific Montessori activities you are providing for your child, are essentially food, John Bowman points out. You will find that once your energetic and agitated child begins to eat of this food . . . this activity . . . this learning that is work – she will begin to focus her attention and adore your Tot Trays or activity baskets.
Persevere and provide these specific learning moments. Don’t forget Montessori at Home has some GREAT ideas! Bowman reminds his reader, each time you nourish your child’s brain with quality activities, their ability to concentrate will increase. Once their ability to concentrate increases, this opens up their ability to learn ANYTHING.
What is Gabe doing? After flipping through my Montessori at Home! book, I chose to have Gabe use a mortar and pestle to grind different spices and grains. He was encouraged to touch, feel, and smell each item both before and after he ground them. His favorite? Cereal! He was quite shocked at the whiff of basil that proceeded to blow into his face!
What are you waiting for? Go and have a Montessori Moment at Home with your Little! To review what we have covered so far in our Montessori at Home journey, click here.