Just can’t concentrate? Easier done by starting young…

This is Dry Pouring 1 in Montessori-speak. It is one of the first activities your child will be introduced to in a Montessori Children’s House. Pouring is introduced for many reasons. – Because it is a useful skill for a little child, because it allows her to do so many other things like baking, watering plants or pouring water to drink, and because it gives her the opportunity to perfect her movements. Children enjoy practising specific movements. As they become engrossed in pouring, watching the beans move, picking up spilled beans, and trying very hard not to put their hands in the jug, they are also practising GIVING ATTENTION to an activity.

This begins the process of developing concentration. Among parents and educators, there is one consensus about concentration; that it arises out of an activity that is interesting to someone and which she had some choice in. What is also important to note is that concentration also arises out of activity which involves effort! Have you ever been bored at work? Often the work is not of interest to you or it is simply unchallenging and does not demand any effort of you.

The child also enjoys having a suitable challenge. In pouring, the child makes an effort in perfecting movement.- She must lift a heavy jug and pour the contents directly into the other jug. The adult can challenge the child to do it so there is not a single sound (requires effort!) or to do it 10 times (requires effort!)

No child is born perfectly able to concentrate and no child is lazy! They all want to make an effort but they will only know they want it when they’ve had a taste of it. To help her, she must have things to do. Something for her hands, something for her legs, something for her eyes, nose and ears.

Here is a brief description of how someone might show a child how to pour beans. Be warned….The following will either be the most intriguing or boring thing you have ever read:

Adult says, ‘This is “Pouring Beans”.’ (Adult lifts tray from surface and puts tray down.)

Adult says,  ‘Would you like to carry it to a table?’ (Child carries tray to table.)

 Both sit down. Child sits in front of tray, adult at side of table.

 (Adult points to jug.) ‘This is a jug.’ (pause)

(Adult points to the spout) ‘This is the spout.’ (pause)

(Adult peers into jug and looks excited.) ‘There are some beans in it! Look!’

(Child looks at beans in jug.)

(Adult points to beans.) ‘Broad beans.’ (pause) ‘Let’s pour!’

 Adult shows palm with last 2 fingers folded and slowly puts the other fingers around handle. Fingers of other hand supports other side of jug.

 Adult makes eye contact with child. Lifts jug and moves it directly over the other jug. Tilts and pours beans into other jug. Adult straightens jug and places it back on tray.

 Adult repeats the pouring on the other side and asks, ‘Would you like a turn?’ (Child nods.)

 ‘I wonder if you can get all the beans into the jug every time!’ ADULT LEAVES. Child has a turn.

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