Educational, Pedagogies

Children's play: unnoticed work

By: Alison Cross

Have you ever wondered why your child doesn't get bored of going tirelessly around the same monument in a square? Have you noticed the concentration that children can have when they have in their hands something that they enjoy playing with?

Within each child lies the engine of learning: curiosity. María Montessori said that "play is the child's work" and it is that they self-construct their learning.

Children learn from their environment, through trial and error. The fluidity of the skills comes from the sufficient number of repetitions, therefore, it is essential that they feel free to explore as many times as they need, without feeling observed and even less judged or compared to others. We would not want to affect the certainty they build of themselves, a self-image in which they are capable of "success" through their own abilities.

Have you ever had to offer your child a reward in exchange for playing? And it is that in the infantile game, the incentives are not external. The true incentive, in fact, comes from deep within each one, from the certainty of the ability to achieve that is produced in each step they take.

In order to be able to work independently, the children's material must be arranged in an attractive way (more in moderation and not in an overloaded or exaggerated way) on custom-made shelves, in trays that allow them to transport it by themselves in the same way that they would take a toy. The material must be within reach of the children, be the appropriate size for their hands and must be of very good quality.

So what do we adults do?

We can start by offering materials with textures that give us sensations with a warm temperature, such as wood, and little by little we can introduce noble materials that allow children to feel the real weight of the elements that they will learn to handle, such as glasses and small cups. of earthenware We recommend the use of realistic and not toy materials.

As adults, it's hard to remember how slowly we used to carry a full glass of water or how we needed to carry a plate with both hands so it wouldn't drop, but children are refining their motor skills, so it's ideal that , if we are going to model the use of any material, let's do it more slowly than we normally would. We will see that quickly, children will want to take the material into their own hands and imitate the process.

Another very useful recommendation is to observe much more and intervene much less and only when we notice that frustration is a great impediment or when the children ask for help. Even when they request it, it is good to ask where in the process they need help and not do it for them but help them achieve it for themselves.

There is a hidden treasure that can only be found in the process of discovering that we are capable of achievement, but let's not forget that to achieve it we need to repeat a lot and that must be a safe environment, in which there is no fear of being humiliated by speed. or divergence from our process.

I wish you all a very happy learning!

Alison Cross is a teacher specializing in early childhood education and music pedagogy with over a decade of experience in education. Certified as a Montessori guide assistant for children from 0 to 6 years old by AMI (Association Montessori Internationale), she is also involved in musical and dance activities.

Bibliography and references:

  1. Montessori, M. (1912). The Absorbing Mind of the Child. Mexico. Editorial Diana.
  2. Thomas, MSC & Knowland, VCP (2009). Sensitive periods in brain development – implications for education policy brain development. European Psychiatric Review, 2 (1), 17-20.
  3. Montessori principles: The Four Planes of Education (María Montessori) International Montessori Association. Re-edition 2004.
  4. Education and Peace (María Montessori) The Montessori – Pierson Estates.

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