This is an common question. In many of the activities we do, we ask a child to carry one item at a time. Why is this?
These are my reasons:
1. So they can have both hands on the item and have the best chance of successfully getting the item to the intended location without dropping it.
2. In order to increase memory. When you say, “Please get a fork”. You offer your child the word ‘fork’. She hears the word, finds a matching image in her memory and then holds that image in her mind as she goes to the shelf, chooses one, and then returns to the table with the fork. Sometimes they loose the image somewhere in between and may return with a different item, or even nothing at all. It is important to repeat the command and have your child try again.
3. Efficiency isn’t the goal. If it were, it would make perfect sense for a child to carry as much as possible in each trip. However, when your child is moving with purpose, it is more important for him to be accurate over efficient. It is accuracy in his movements that will help him strengthen his muscles and master his movements.
4. Repetition leads to concentration. When your child repeats her movements she travels back and forth to a shelf, gathering the materials she needs. Each trip she is challenging her memory and mastering her movements. And each trip adds to a deeper connection and level of concentration with her work.
5. Movement with purpose increases the ability to learn. Studies have shown that adding movement to your child’s learning experiences can greatly impact her experience. The whole child is involved in learning. Her hands must move to feed her mind. Your child is wired to learn through her senses and this includes, her kinesthetic sense, also called the muscle sense.
What an interesting topic and well-documented post! Authentic Montessori.