As I write, your children are coming to the end of the morning work cycle. We have been learning about estimation and it was Simone’s turn to bring home the estimation jar, fill it with one type of item, and bring it back so that she and her classmates could estimate the contents, and then count them. They have been counting grains of brown rice since 9:00 AM (more than two and a half hours ago) and it’s absolutely magical to see! They worked out a whole system of bowls, trays, and cups, got out all of the Golden Beads to aid in their counting, and moved into their mentor-mentee pairs.
About an hour in, there was a concern that someone was mistakenly exchanging ten grains for a hundred square instead of a ten bar, but instead of getting upset with that child, they had a lovely group discussion about whether to start over or try to figure out at what point in the counting this could have happened. There was talk about the importance of accuracy and then they decided, as a group, to subtract out a percentage of the total “to make sure we’re still on track.
At another point, they decided, again as a group, to stop and have snack together. They organized who should go first, second etc. to gather snack, and all ate together before returning to their counting. Over the course of the morning, as a mentor-mentee pair finished counting their original portion of rice, they split up and joined other pairs to help out.
The amount of concentration and focus required to do this task for two and a half hours is immense and every single child has stayed with the work. There hasn’t been a single cross word and they have continuously complimented each other throughout the morning as they’ve problem-solved and remained flexible.
I am completely amazed at what your children have accomplished, not just in the counting of more than 24,000 grains of rice (yes, you read that correctly!), but in the sense of pride they took in their work together. This was one of those times when I so appreciate the long, uninterrupted work cycle that a Montessori education allows. What a spectacular morning it was!