Category Archives: S working on her concentration

S working on her concentration skill

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

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This morning after I nursed baby S I lay her down on the top of her lambskin rug and put a basket of some grasping objects next to her, close enough to reach. Then I left her to explore the items on her own. I sat on a chair nearby reading my new book and observing her at the same time. Here is my observation, S picked something from the basket with one hand, held it in her hands, manipulated it with both hands, put it in her mouth, dropped it and started all over again. At the same time, she was kicking her feet on the floor, pushing her tummy up. She was moving herself down the rug and pushing the basket down at the same time. 25 minutes later and she was still fully engaged and was at the bottom of the rug because of the constant and slow movement of her feet and her body. S was completely engaged for 30 minutes until the phone rang and her concentration was broken. She started to fuss. I intervened and put her on her tummy and left her to work on her own again. S was happy and engaged for another 10 minutes.

What learning do I see here?

As Montessori believed newborns are incomplete beings whose tasks are to construct their own personalities through lifetime of learning and experiences. They work hard to further their self-formation task through exploring their environment. To assist the newborn in this great task, adults must provide learning opportunities appropriate for their stage of development. The most important thing is to provide an environment that encourages concentration. It is very tempting to break the child’s concentration by making comments such as “wonderful”, “well-done”, “good job” when we see their achievement or to just give them a big kiss. But when a child is fully engaged such acts from adults draw the child’s attention from the task they are involved in to the adults. This makes the child self-conscious, making it difficult to concentrate at the job in hand. This is what we need to avoid. For instance, when you give a speech if you are so self-conscious about what you are wearing you cant focus on the job at hand which is the speech itself. In this story for instance, I just sat back and observed her. It is very important to allow the child from early days to practice concentration. Of course S gets plenty of cuddles and interactions throughout the day as interaction is also very important in absorbing language and having a well-balanced life but when the opportunity comes and you see your baby engaged take a step back and allow them to get absorbed in the task.

What could I have done differently?

clothing that assists free movement, S is working so hard to practice movement and a very important way to aid her is to dress her with appropriate clothing. Shorts are the best as they do not get in the way when she tries to use her feet to slide down the rug. (uncovered legs and feet). This was in the middle of winter and was very cold, but it would have been best to turn up the heater and put some feetless pants on instead.

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