December 2016 – Toddler Article

“The first essential for the child’s development is concentration. The child who concentrates is immensely happy” (Montessori). 

There is a sense of peace and inner discipline amongst the toddlers right now. They are comfortable in their environment and have been working hard. We must not interrupt a concentrating child. Though this can be hard, it is essential for their developing brain.

“If a child’s cycle of activity is interrupted, the results are a deviation of behavior, aimlessness, and loss of interest……so whatever intelligent activity we witness in a child-even if it seems absurd to us…..we must not interfere; for the child must be able to finish the cycle of activity on which his heart is set” (Montessori).

Sometimes we step in to help a child too soon. Sit back and observe. It is okay for a child to have a healthy struggle. If we constantly save our children when there is a struggle, there will be a lack of self discipline and self-confidence.

“Learning, by itself, cannot happen without concentration. Whether we are learning to tie our shoes, write our name, wash a car or solve complex algebraic equations, there is intense concentration specific to the task at hand. Dr. Maria Montessori understood the power of concentration, and her methodology is designed to nurture this power.” (North American Montessori Center 2009).

It is rare to see a child interrupted at school. Have you ever been working on something very important and you are interrupted? That can be frustrating. You might forget what you were about to do or write. This is how a child might feel if there is a disruption in their hard work. There are times when it is necessary to interrupt. In these cases, we let the child know what is going to happen. “We need to get ready for lunch in two minutes.”

“Our modern culture contains a multitude of distractions: video games, computers, television, and any number of sports- or arts-related extra activities. Combined, these can create an overabundance of sensory stimulation. Maintaining a calm, controlled, prepared Montessori environment and a clear approach to reducing distractions and sensory overload is an important task of the Montessori guide. This directed approach is designed to foster the power of concentration in children, so that they may grow to become happy, independent, and fulfilled adults” (NAMC 2009).

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