Wednesday, May 4, 2011


When I was in school I was told what Lenin used to say: "Practise, practise and practise!" And when I couldn't always find the motivation I am now also lacking the patience to practise over and over again. If something is just not happening - I'm done with it. Therefore I was astonished to watch this little scene just before.

We were having lunch and without thinking much I unscrewed a drinking carton to give Leander something to drink. He reached his little arm - not for the drink but for the cap. I gave it to him and he again reached out his arm to place this cap on top of the opening in the carton. When it fell on the floor over and over again I placed himself on the floor with the cap and the carton and was sure the interest in this game would be over in now time (remembering my latest blog post). But this time I was wrong.

For several minutes he was highly concentrated and occupied with his self set task. He managed to place the cap on the hole but is not able to screw it yet. The cap would then always slip out of his fingertips into his hands which made the whole thing more difficult. And what I saw then really struck me.

He put the cap on the floor only to then pick it up carefully with his fingertips. And then he placed it back on top of the carton and so on.

And when I thought he might be getting frustrated because he was not able to screw it, so when the cap did stay on but was easily lifted it looked to me as if he was checking if it is fixated. Instead I realised that every time he just lifted the cap again to start his game over and over.

Now that was a lot of cap and carton talk. But who would have thought that this might be such a thrilling toy?
And again we learned - we do not need to teach anything. Not how to hold things, how to screw things or anything. And we do certainly not need to tell them how to do things better or different. When he put the cap down to grab it differently... that was one of those Aha-moments we want to miss as little as our children want to miss their learning experiences.

sorry for the terrible pictures I just could pull out my phone quickly otherwise I would have distracted Leander from his play.


  1. Greetings Nadine!

    Thank you so much for sharing this experience. I too once had an a-ha moment watching a young child trying to blow bubbles using a "bubble wand" upside down. Time and time again he tried and suddenly he corrected the position and began anew.

    I am not fortunate to be a parent but I was fortunate enough to have met the lovely Magda Gerber who inspired me to pursue a learning in Early Childhood Development. I find RIE a wonderful parenting alternative and have observed a few classes in action and continue to be inspired. I will be visiting your blog more often! Thank you again!


  2. oops, that above comment Mr. a-go-go is from me, Jessica. I forgot my husband's google account was logged in. Thank you1

  3. Hi Jessica,
    yeah, those moments are just priceless are they? Seeing their endless patience to finally get to what they are aiming for...
    I'm always jealous of people who have met Magda Gerber. From what I read and hear she must have been an incredible woman and I can only hope to carry on what she has started and try and do my best.

    I'll see you around then, great to hear from you!