"The first essential for the child's development is concentration. It lays the whole basis for his character and social behaviour. He must find out how to concentrate, and for this he needs things to concentrate upon. This shows the importance of his surroundings." - Maria Montessori. The Absorbent Mind.
Maria Montessori writes that the essential thing is for a task to arouse such an interest that it engages the child's whole personality, that we must provide "motives for activity" so well adapted to the child's interests that they provoke his deep attention.
The school holidays can be difficult for some children, there is the disruption to familiar activities and routine. Often this time of year has a busy-ness, we rush children around or we try to keep them busy with endless activities. Children who attend a Montessori school may be craving a three-hour work cycle, uninterrupted time where they can just 'work'.
During these school holidays my children have had plenty of relaxed, down time and I have been very conscious of providing long periods of uninterrupted play. It's when I see the deep concentration. It's when I see the most creative endeavors. It's when I see my children the most settled, the most confident, the most focused, content, calm and happy. Concentration seems to centre them.
There are lots of other benefits to concentration. While the child is concentrating often they are working on other skills, fine motor skills, reading, writing or they are using their imaginations or creativity. It's important that during the school break we keep on engaging our children so that they use these skills.
Above Otis is using the Junior Labyrinth c/o Child.com.au. It is a great size, fantastic quality and has two magnetic pens so it can be used by two children at once. I find labyrinth and maze toys really calming but there are also fantastic for coordination, visual perception, cognitive development and reasoning. If you are looking for similar materials you can see Child.com.au or my previous post Labyrinth and Maze Toys for Kids. I know a lot of my friends are struggling with screen time right now and toys like this are a great alternative!