In Graham’s Montessori preschool, much of the day was self-led. That is to say, a kid could choose his own activities and divide his time however he liked. He might spend some time doing math activities and some time doing letters or shapes. He might wash dishes or cut out circles with scissors or string beads. He might play with clay or blocks. He might color a picture or trace shapes. He might sort objects by color or shape.
He might. But he didn’t.
Every single day, we’d ask Graham, “What did you do at school today?”
Every day. All day.
“Really, just stars?”
“Yep, just stars.”
Let me explain stars: in stars, you have a bowl of plastic stars, and an empty bowl. One by one, you pick up each star with tweezers, and place the star in the empty bowl. Then you are done. Unless you want to put the stars back into the now empty original bowl. Of course when you are done with that, you still have an empty bowl…
Every day for about a month, he reported doing nothing but stars. Frankly, we were starting to get concerned about him.
“Really just stars?
“Yep, just stars.”
Then one day, we asked him what he did that day, and he answered, “Spoons!” We were thrilled. “Tell us about spoons!”
Graham explained. In spoons, you have a bowl of water and empty bowl. You use the spoon to move the water from one bowl to the other…
In time, he moved on to cotton balls.
I probably don’t have to explain how cotton balls work…