A key reason I teach the Montessori method is that it helps the child develop a long concentration span.
If a child is experiencing a short attention span, it’s likely that the activity is adult-scheduled.
When a child is given the freedom of choice (within boundary), he can choose an activity that is just right for his development and engage in it for a long period of time.
As the adult in the room, we simply have to respect the child by remaining silent and avoiding disturbing him.
Even a well-meaning comment or praise can break a child’s deep concentration.
Sometimes, the simplest thing (which is not doing anything) is the hardest to do.
Our family played Catan, a popular board game, yesterday. After Daddy and the older boys had completed the game, 8yo El still wanted to continue until he reached points.
I stayed around to support his play as the banker. He remained enthusiastic, excited and determined to play by himself.
Finally, he reached his goal.
That’s another 30 minutes after about 1 to 2 hours of group play!
He had the opportunity to:
focus on a task for a long period of time
stay behind to improve his skills to catch up with the older kids
persist in reaching his goal
This same boy can be doodling or text-messaging when attending his school’s online classes.
He can be sloppy when doing certain homework.
Yet, he can spend hours reading novels, Science and Math magazines, crafting for his projects, and like yesterday, mastering Catan.
Does he have a short attention span?
Or is traditional teaching / parenting encouraging a short attention span?