The Importance of Repetition
“Repetition is the secret of perfection” – Dr. Maria Montessori, The Discovery of the Child
One of our veteran Montessori Preschool & Kindergarten teachers was recently asked, “How have children changed in the many years of your teaching experience?”
Fortunately, Maria Montessori saw that children’s needs are the same, all around the world and throughout all time. She talked of human tendencies and if we do not let these tendencies develop, they can disappear.
One of these tendencies is the need for repetition. With technology so much a part of our lives, children are experiencing instant change, moving from one program to the next instantly. Our teacher has observed that, in the classroom, children are frequently seeking something new, without taking the time to absorb all there is to soak up with what they have already experienced or been presented. However, with repetition, the child becomes more focused, more aware of their surroundings, more creative, more precise, and more independent.
At home, it is a good thing for a child to ask parents for the same book to be read to them repeatedly. We may tire of it, but if they are asking, that means there is still more to be gained by reading it again. Encourage repetition, to do the same puzzle, the same Legos, the same toys over and over. Repetition does not simply mean doing the same task again and again but instead practicing the same skill over and over.
Repetition comes in many forms, not simply the child doing the work himself. A child in a Montessori environment will observe other children doing a work and give lessons to another, often younger, child. Each of these behaviors reinforces the skill. Repetition refines the senses, encourages focus, breeds independence, and develops confidence in our work and ourselves. Only when the child is given the opportunity to repeat the activity with intense interest will he enter into a sensitive period, or move onto the next one.