One might think that many of the Practical Life activities in the Montessori classroom would be more enjoyed by girls than boys. Would young boys enjoy sewing a button, preparing food, taking care of plants or dusting?
A 3-year-old boy in one of our classrooms learned to arrange flowers. He was focused during the presentation, paid close attention and handled the cutting shears with the utmost care after being warned how sharp they were. After the presentation a Montessori teacher is to withdraw and allow the child to work through the process as long as they desire. So we watched. He cut the flowers, arranged them in miniature vases, and lovingly placed them around the classroom. Soon all that was left in the large vase was some greenery that came with this week’s delivery of flowers. He’d spent more than half an hour involved in the work.
Dr. Maria Montessori observed that if children are going increase their concentration, they must be given tasks that are interesting and appropriate for their development. In the classroom, the teacher not only gives lessons, but also observes, so that a particular presentation can be given right when it’s going to be most meaningful to the child.
The result? A 3-year-old concentrating on an activity for 30 minutes.