I learned from our Montessori teacher that up until about 4 or 5 years old, kids are focused more on the process verses the outcome or product of their work/activity. Around the age of 4 or 5, kids switch and become more focused on the finished product. I’m really glad that I learned this because my two-year old toddler’s actions and decisions make more sense. I can tell he isn’t worried about finishing an activity. In fact, I’ll often observe him taking down an activity from off our Montessori-inspired shelf, playing with it for a minute, and then putting it back on the shelf. He’s working on mastering the process of shelf work, the routine of pulling a tray down and putting it back.
Below is a picture of B working on sorting color bears. He never put more than a few bears into the cups. He never put all the bears into all the cups thereby completing the activity. Although he sorted them correctly, he was not worried about completing the activity. He enjoyed taking all the bears out sorting a few and putting all the bears back. Knowing that B is working on the process and isn’t worried about the product is powerful – and cool! Not only am I more patient, but I’m also better at preparing an activity for B’s shelf.
Have you noticed a focus of the process or the product when your children work on a project or activity?
Here is another picture where B is working on an activity. B is starting to work on lacing. I only put out 6 beads. I put out only three pipe cleaners and let him match the colored beads with the pipe cleaners. In this way, he was color sorting, something he already did well, and lacing without knowing it. Soon, I will add lace (string) and more beads. Later, I will make patterns with the beads that he can match.
A few other cute pictures…