One of the rules to be followed in a Montessori classroom is “Never interrupt the work of a fellow“. When we interrupt the work of a child or an adult, we are sending the message that what they are doing is not valuable, or at least not as valuable as the reason that leads us to interrupt. Here are more thoughts on the importance of not interrupting.
The Importance of Not Interrupting
Sometimes I find myself interrupting Alejandro because I want to tell him something or because I want to make a suggestion about whatever he is doing. Fortunately this happens less and less frequently because it’s something I’ve been working on. Something we should always ask ourselves before interrupt a child is “Do I really need to interrupt?” And if the answer is no, it is best to let the child strengthen his ability to concentrate.
It is quite common, especially with babies, to assume that whatever they are doing is not important enough to not be interrupted.
An example we’ve all experienced: A baby is lying watching a mobile, or her hands, or the reflection of light on the wall, or anything that is currently attracting her attention, and is interrupted by an adult (with the best will in the world) who starts to move a rattle or call her by her name to get her attention. This disruption is preventing the baby from developing their attention span, and has distracted her from something that was much more important than many people imagine, something that she was “working” on. Yes, it may sound weird, but babies and children work constantly, and therefore Maria Montessori preferred to call “work” instead of “play” what babies and children do, to give it the importance it deserves.