Concentration: The hand and the mind in purposeful activity
One of the most calming activities for a child is concentration. This does not include passive, non-participatory concentration such as watching television or watching videos. The action must be something, which is controlled by the child so she can repeat it as often as necessary, and it must challenge her body as well as her mind.
The choice of purposeful activity is not as important as the level of concentration brought forth. Deep concentration can occur while digging in the sand, washing carrots, stringing beads, coloring, or doing a puzzle. The Montessori adult gives lessons, which are well thought out, logical and clear; she creates an environment, which fosters work, and she is always on the lookout for a child beginning to concentrate. When this happens she protects the child from interruption because she understands the place of this experience in creating balance and happiness in the child.
The availability of a special little table at home, which is always cleared off and ready for work, can help the child focus on her work and stick to it until she is finished. It is a natural consequence that, if the work is not put away, the space will not be available for the next activity.
An apron, used for cooking, cleaning, woodworking, gardening, etc., sometimes helps the child concentrate by marking the beginning and the end of a task. It also elevates the importance of the work in the child’s eyes. When a child’s work is seen as important to the family, so is the child. In addition, the apron should be made so that the child can put it on and fasten it by herself; then she can work whenever she wants to. A hook at the child’s level for hanging it on the wall keeps it always ready.
Kathy Graham, founder and director of Montessori Tides School, shares in the video below, the benefits of aiding your child’s concentration when the hand and mind are working together in purposeful activity.
If you are unable to view the embedded video below, click here.