When little children participate in Practical Life activities, you’ll often see them completely absorbed in their work, oblivious to what’s going on around them. Why is this? And, more importantly, how can you encourage your child to develop that same type of focus?
Every Practical Life activity has at least one “Point of Interest” (POI). That’s a fancy term for a quality or moment in the activity that catches the child’s attention and makes him want to repeat the work over and over again. It can be an enjoyable sound, like the tinkling of the beans hitting the glass bowl in the Spooning video above. Or it can be a particular reaction, like the bubbles that form when the child washes her hands. It can also be a challenge, like getting a needle through the holes of a button.
Children repeat the activity because they want to keep experiencing the POI. With repetition comes focus. And the more concentrated they are, the calmer they become. This calmness is called the state of flow, and it’s a topic for another day…
For now, your job is to see what catches your child’s interest as she helps you around the house. Is it the satisfying way that spoons stack one on top of another in a drawer? Or how water seems to disappear when it comes into contact with a sponge? Maybe it’s the challenge of leveling a measuring cup with a knife. Whatever it is, allow your child to enjoy that POI, knowing that the benefits of deep concentration aren’t far behind.
Two bowls, a tray, a spoon, and some beans are all that’s needed for this simple activity that packs a powerful developmental punch. As the child spoons beans from one bowl to another, she’s working on fine and gross motor skills; tracking left-to-right in preparation for writing and reading; and strengthening her ability to concentrate. If beans fall out, they’re contained by the tray and can be put back in once the transferring activity is done. Spooning can be introduced around 2 – 2 1/2 years.
Watch the video, learn the theory behind these activities, and discover the nine key points for sharing a new activity with your child.
For more tips on how to introduce Montessori activities, read The Nine Key Points to Sharing a New Activity with Your Child.
P.S. Would you like my support and guidance setting-up your Montessori home? If, yes then go ahead and schedule a ‘Discovery Session’ with me. It’s free and you’ll know if we are a good fit. 😉