It’s hard to imagine a day without including a little fresh air time here in our southern climate. It happened to be a beautiful day and so we were heading out on a long walk. I made sure to bring a few sensorial toys for her to hold and taste along the way. Although nature would provide plenty of sights and sounds for a five-month-old, her visual and auditory skills were still refining and her ’absorbent mind’ had her more pressing and hands-on needs to meet.

The Absorbent Mind was one of Dr. Montessori’s greatest discoveries. From birth, the child’s brain begins to absorb all her environmental experiences and impressions. Using her senses, she is able to teach herself effortlessly. And from this, she begins her greatest work of self-construction. She will teach herself to focus, grasp, roll, sit, crawl, walk, talk and more!

As we strolled along, I’m quite sure she felt the sun’s warmth on her blanket, heard the animal sounds in the distance, and unconsciously noted the chatter of people passing and cars swooshing by. She may have caught a glimpse of a tree branch and a flower bud as we strolled past several gardens. She breathed the fresh air and soaked in a little vitamin D. And the blue sky …

Yes, she glanced and gazed out from her stroller from time to time. But it was her concentrated effort as she focused on the ‘work’ in front of her that left its greatest impression on me. I watched in awe as she explored the toy she was holding — tasting, feeling and studying it intently. And it was clear to me that she was soaking it up like a sponge … internalizing all that she sees.

“The child has a different relation to his environment from ours… the child absorbs it.  The things she sees are not just remembered; they form part of her soul.  She incarnates in herself all in the world about her that her eyes see and her ears hear.” — Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind

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