MA Blogger: Brenda Bernstorf
Practice has become a dirty word. Well, it has become a word that is synonymous with drudgery or associated with emotional pain.
Edward Hallowell in his book, The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness, says that practice gives children a sense of control as they work towards mastery.
Children practice all the time. Simple games we play with our babies and toddlers continue until they no longer get the desired reaction from the child. Children repeat activities they love – whether its puzzles, playing with cars, or playing dress-up – until it no longer challenges them and then they move to something else. Think about playing patty-cake or peek-a-boo with your baby. Repetition becomes discipline. When the baby has mastered those activities they are ready to move on to more advanced play.
It’s a simple concept. If you enjoy doing it – you will repeat it. Hallowell stated, “Practice and discipline bridge the gap between play and mastery.”
In the Montessori classroom there is a two and a half to three hour work cycle. That seems like a long time but children have the opportunity to practice, master, and learn new materials every day.
Practice is not a dirty word when you enjoy what you are doing, desire to master it, and want to repeat the activity.