13. Repetition

The child has a natural and irresistible tendency towards work… When the child is left free to work in an environment prepared for him, when he is free to act, he has the tendency to organize a set of movements around an idea, which constitutes a definite aim – work.  The child concentrates upon the work, repeating it again and again to perfect it by his own movement, this helps us understand the path the child follows to achieve development. – Dr. Maria Montessori in Creative Development in the Child vol. 1

In this passage Dr. Montessori makes an assertion about human nature – namely that there is natural tendency towards work and its repetition.  She goes on to suggest that repetition plays a significant role in a child’s development.  The clip above seems to capture what Montessori observed about the practices of young children.  The clip is one of many shared by the joyful child who also noted that the little girl continued her sock play for upwards of 45 minutes.  It is interesting to consider whether we as grown-ups build enough space into the days of children for their voluntary repetition of skills…


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