“My child’s mind is like a sponge.”
We often hear this expression to describe the remarkable rate at which a young child learns.
Picture a sponge. Soft, porous, effortlessly absorbing that which comes its way. It soaks up, without discernment and with dexterity, that which approaches.
Now, imagine a child seeing and experiencing and feeling this wonderful world for the very first time.
We are amazed by their ability to take in the world at such a staggering pace. At times we are even envious of how quickly they seem to process information!
Maria Montessori coined a phrase to encompass this phenomenon, one typically reserved for childhood. She called it, the absorbent mind.
While we adults can relate on some level, we’ve become too accustomed and too established in our own ways of thinking and interacting with the world. We’re no longer the children that we once were. It takes us much longer to absorb the world around us.
Here’s Montessori, who sets this up nicely:
“The child has a different relation to his environment from ours… the child absorbs it.”
Montessori goes on to write in a beautiful turn of phrase, “The things the child sees are not just remembered; they form part of his soul.”
A perfect example here, one that is well documented and discussed, is the acquisition of language. Children have an extraordinary ability to pick up a new language, at a pace and with an ease that often surpasses our own capabilities. To reference Montessori, it’s not just about remembering…it’s about absorbing.
“The child has a mind able to absorb knowledge. He has the power to teach himself.” – Maria Montessori
Consider your child’s absorbent mind. What will he or she soak up next?
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