If you visit any authentic Montessori preschool classroom across the globe, you will find a daily practice that has long been incorporated into the curriculum: the Silence Game.
Children sit together in a circle, close their eyes, and learn just to be. They sometimes listen for birds outside, or a sound of a passing airplane, or the ticking of a clock, or perhaps their neighbor’s breathing. They learn to control their bodies, to make them still and obedient to their thoughts, rather than the other way around. It’s an activity that the children have practiced in Montessori classrooms for more than 100 years.
Montessori teachers have found this activity helps children find their “center,” the silent place inside each child that knows how to choose what the next, best piece of work will be. Children who are calm and poised are ready to choose challenging activities and follow through with those activities.
And now we find recent research verifying these practices. Reported in Time magazine, scientists have been studying what happens when children practice various forms of mindfulness. At the end of their study, they found children in the experimental group “had 15% better math scores, showed 24% more social behaviors, were 24% less aggressive and perceived themselves as 20% more pro-social. They outperformed their peers in cognitive control, stress levels, emotional control, optimism, empathy, mindfulness and aggression.”
Decade after decade, science discovers new ways to prove what Dr. Montessori saw a century ago. She called her discovery “the New Child.” This was not the same being parents had handheld for millennia. This was a child who, if set free from the distractions and distortions of the chaotic world, would show mankind a new way to live, a better way.
Slowly, surely, steadily, the trickle down from Montessori’s work so many years ago continues to find new outlets. But in Montessori schools around the globe, it’s nothing new. It continues to inspire the children and the teachers to greater and greater heights of awareness, mindfulness, and the ever present feeling of joy in living each moment to its fullness.
To read the brief Time article, click below:
(And thank you to LoRayne Logan for sending the above article to me!)