As I wrap up my lucky ’13’ years of being a guide in a Montessori Primary classroom, consisting of children in the age group of 3-6 years…. I reflect back at what works, what doesn’t , what has changed, children’s behavior, social development , teacher’s role etc.
The biggest change I observe is in the children’s “concentration”.
Concentration is defined as the “action or power of focusing one’s attention or mental effort”.
“Concentration is the first essential thing for a child’s development“.
Practical life exercises in a Montessori classroom help build concentration- especially the large water works with many steps from start to finish, ensures a child stay with their task for longer time building their focus.
Sensorial materials help build concentration by creating “purposeful movement” through the activities like pink tower, brown stairs, red rods etc, wherein a child carries the individual pieces in the work ‘one at a time’ from the shelf to the rug.
Language and Math materials move from being simple, small table works to complex , longer floor rug works, ensuring physical, cognitive , mental and social development.
So Montessori works help build concentration, but why do we see so many children unable to focus on their work even as they get into their 2nd or 3rd year in the primary classroom.
I feel its because of Screen time /Technology overload world that we all live in.
- Preschool children spend an average of 32 hrs/week on some form of screen.
- Children have difficulty transitioning learning from 2 D screen to 3 D life.
- Screen time impacts child’s behavior and focus.
- Body doesn’t move when children watch screen, but Brain responds to lights, sounds, content etc on screen & this causes a disconnect between Brain and Body.
Disconnect between Brain and Body is one of the primary reasons for lack of concentration, inability to pay attention or focus on a task at hand or “work” in the Montessori classroom.
As we head into the New Year – lets focus on the present, build human interactions and encourage our children to do the same with minimal screen time and in the process, build a “Better future for all”.
The child who concentrates is immensely happy – Dr . Maria Montessori.