You may have noticed that young children are ALWAYS on the go and seeking out to lift and move heavy things that are sometimes bigger than their own bodies. At times it seems as they continue to grow they are constantly looking for ways to develop their strength and challenge themselves. Maria Montessori observed in young children that suddenly, after learning to attain a new physical skill such as walking, climbing, jumping, they have a strong need to do heavy and hard work, which she defined as “maximum effort.” Through this work, they are building on their new found freedom of skills by continuing to build strength through mastering new gross motor skills.
This invitation to lift, move, and build is set with recycled boxes, jugs, cartons, containers, and bottles. Some containers were empty, full, 1/2-1/4-1/3 full to provide different weights & sizes.
The children were invited to explore these items which promoted: gross motor skills (lifting, carrying rolling, and pushing), coordination & balance (by adding the different elements of weight it helps perfect these skills), social emotional skills (by meeting a child’s need to lift they are fostering their self confidence and independence).
Providing opportunities for young children to exercise the internal drive to reach this need for “maximum effort,” not only is developmentally appropriate it honors how their mind works, what their body needs and to instill that they are capable of doing anything.