22 Apr Nurturing the Absorbent Mind in 2021
A young child’s mind is like a sponge, and what they absorb from their environment can shape their identity and the adult they grow up to be.
Known as the absorbent mind, this concept has stood as a pillar in Montessori education for over 100 years. But given how starkly different things are today compared to a century ago, one has to wonder how the child’s absorbent mind holds up in such a fast-paced world saturated with media and technology.
We are constantly bombarded with news, information, and distractions ‒ but despite this, our childrens’ absorbent minds are still learning, molding, and growing.
How can parents nurture the absorbent mind in 2021? Sugar Mill Montessori explores the modern, Montessori approach to cultivating the absorbent mind and ways we can help children grow up to be independent, successful, and compassionate individuals.
What Is the Absorbent Mind?
From birth to the age of six, children learn by absorbing everything around them in their environment. What a child hears, sees, smells, touches, and experiences are not just memories ‒ they become embedded in the child’s spirit and identity.
There’s no limit to what the child’s absorbent mind can soak up and process, and children do so unknowingly and knowingly.
The Unconscious Absorbent Mind
Between birth and age 3, children learn to crawl, stand, walk, and speak by seeing it occur in their environment. The child mimics the words and behaviors of those around them. While this helps them develop early motor and sensory-motor skills, it also prepares them to enter the conscious stage of their absorbent mind.
The Conscious Absorbent Mind
From ages 3 to 6, the child’s identity blossoms as their mind absorbs more and more life experiences. They’ve begun to develop a language and the personality traits of their families and those around them.
By these ages, children have already developed basic abilities and are consciously learning in the realms of reading, writing, math, music, and so on. Children also begin developing the ability and desire to exert their independence and make decisions for themselves.
How to Nurture the Absorbent Mind
A strong absorbent mind lays the foundation for an individual to reason, be independent, and make healthy decisions in life. As parents, much of how we nurture the child’s absorbent mind is still the same as it was 100 years ago; but in 2021, there are unique challenges we may encounter.
Next, we’ll explore the various ways parents can nurture children’s absorbent minds in the modern age.
Set a Routine
The more structured a child’s environment, the better they can establish and carry out healthy lifestyle habits.
Children learn and absorb best when their daily routine is predictable and consistent, and also when their home environment is peaceful and stress-free. Here are some ways you can set a healthy daily routine for your child’s absorbent mind:
- Have your child make their bed & brush their teeth first thing in the morning.
- Assign your child to household chores.
- Incorporate stretching & exercise throughout their day.
- Designate playtime & include different playtime activities throughout the week.
- Stick to a bedtime routine.
Family stress and quarrels are bound to happen in any household and disrupt your child’s daily routine. But by learning to promote peace and courtesy in the home environment, your child can adapt and absorb situations and learn to respond compassionately.
Limit Screen Time
The American Academy of Pediatrics widely recommends that parents discourage the use of screens and digital media for children younger than 18 months. They also recommend that children over the age of 2 absorb no more than 1 hour of screen time per day. When children are allowed screen time, it’s encouraged they consume educational programming.
TV and the Internet are inevitable in our society, and it can be difficult to control what our children see and hear on them. However, parents can limit their children’s screen time and integrate practices and hobbies in their daily routines and environments to better foster their absorbent minds.
Remove as much digital media from your child’s environment as possible. Fill your child’s playtime with board games, arts and crafts, cooking, and science projects to better promote their cognitive development!
Nature has immense potential to develop your child’s absorbent ‒ and scientific ‒ mind. Because while outdoors, there’s no shortage of remarkable sights, smells, and sounds that your child can absorb.
With the increasing threat of climate change, spending time outdoors can also teach children to appreciate nature. By doing so, we can foster a child’s compassion for the world around them and also pave the way for their scientific mind and critical thinking skills.
Understanding the Child’s Absorbent Mind in 2021
As parents and educators, we can all do our part to nurture a generation of absorbent minds, successful individuals, and compassionate leaders.
If you’d like to learn more about our approach to teaching and supporting the absorbent mind, contact Sugar Mill Montessori today!