I am so keen to tell you about my really-fun-outdoor-experience we had today, in the freezing cold, despite all odds.
A foundation of Montessori theory is the “3 hour work cycle”, that 3-6 year olds are “built” to spend 3-hours-at-a-time getting deeper and deeper and deeper into their work and play and projects and concentration.
When we interrupt this 3 hour rhythm with screen time or sugary food or car journeys or too much direction we do our children a disservice. We prevent them from reaching deep concentration. So goes the theory. (Although of course I am a massive advocate for us Mums needing to allow grace for real life).
A Montessori-friend recently challenged me to see that this 3 hour cycle happens outside (without Montessori equipment) as well as inside (with Montessori equipment freely available). And of course I needed to experiment with this idea… which led to us being in a large green park this afternoon.
We reached 2 hours and 20 minutes before the rain encouraged me to break off the experiment and retreat to the car.
And my analysis is yes. Yes! I saw the same familiar patterns of concentration-building, activity-repeating, boredom and re-engagement. Even without all our usual puzzles, Montessori equipment, books and paper.
So yes, here’s to allowing our children enough time outside this winter. And perhaps to buying ourselves a hat.