Today I was fortunate to witness very engaged students at RMA. Now, technically, this shouldn’t surprise anyone. Most days the children are engaged and working well for the full morning work cycle. But today was a bit of a different day.
Today, the children spent much of the first part of the morning practicing their play. They did so well! And this led to the children starting their work cycle very late.
Now, what would one think this would do to the children? Throw them in a tailspin? Make them so unfocused, no work would happen?
The complete opposite happened! The children were so eager to work after missing much of their work cycle that they were immediately engaged and happy. At one point, Ms. Sonali had 4 children circled around her with work rugs, each getting a lesson. Some of the older children were showing extensions to the other children in the classroom and were so proud of their work. (See the picture below)
This proves that work is fun! The children eagerly return to work when they miss part of the work cycle. Some even dread being pulled away from it. This is exactly the eagerness of work Dr. Maria Montessori talks about.
“The child is by nature a worker, and when, by working in this special fashion, which is according to his nature, he can accomplish a great deal of work without ever feeling fatigue. When he works in this way he shows himself to be happy …” (Dr. Maria Montessori, ‘Child’s Instinct to Work’, AMI Communications, 1973, 4, 9)
We know the word “work” can have negative connotations, but it shouldn’t. Work is progress, it moves us forward, and it empowers us. We need to work to live. Our bodies need work to function. Work is necessary for life.