“These lessons, exact and fascinating, given in an intimate way to each child separately, are the teacher’s offering to the depths of the child’s soul.” Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind

Because children are natural observers and imitators, they strive to do exactly as we do. After all, they are innately working toward independence. It’s the child’s active work that leads to their cognitive, emotional, physical and spiritual development. As the adult and guide, I must prepare activities and opportunities to support this growth.

Recognizing a Deep Interest

Our sea life activity was a favorite of many children, especially one in particular. Recognizing this interest, I followed his lead and encouraged the exploration of each sea creature and relatable book for several months. The activity appeared to have his full attention, and he seemed hooked! 🎣 Before long, he was looking for bigger fish and a longer line …

At first, he used small sea ocean figures that paired with the beautifully illustrated book, Hidden World Ocean. This combination was perfect for his developmental stage and age, two to three years old.  With enthusiasm, he identified each sea creature by name. Next, he opened each corresponding book flap for more details and discovery. While he explored, I offered rich and descriptive language about the sea life. Of course, he had observations and descriptions to share as well.

Later, he found counting the fish very rewarding and added it as an extension to the activity. As he counted, he placed the corresponding sea life figure on its matching illustration. With this, he was able to confirm his findings. Lucky me to witness the joy in the ebb and flow of his work! Meanwhile, as long as the ocean continues to call to him, he’ll remain happily engaged in depths of learning.

Additional Learning Benefits 

Plenty of practical life learning was involved as he set up the activity. He first had to prepare his work table with a waterproof mat, wooden tongs, clear glass bowl, cloth for spills and basket of sea creatures. Next, he filled a pitcher with water to transfer to the table. After carrying it to his table, he poured it into the bowl. Both large and small motor skills and development were refining with his every move.

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