Young children have short attention spans, don’t they?

Young children have short attention spans, don't they?

Agnes worked for over ½ hour at scooping up sand and putting it into the sand pail.

She never lost concentration.

Agnes experimented with different tools to see which was most productive. She used a shovel and later she used a detergent top.
There was very little sand in the plastic pool but she persevered. The work was slow and steady.
She was completely absorbed in and determined to accomplish her goal.
Other children worked near and around her but she continued working steadily and carefully.
She welcomed help from others.
At one point, a child tried to take her sand pail. An adult intervened to help the children work it out.

She continued, undeterred.

To Agnes

Agnes, it was interesting to watch you scoop up and experiment with the sand. You were learning about the quality of sand and showed strong concentration and good thinking.

You were deciding a lot of things about which tools to use and how you should use them. You were thinking about what you should use to make the sand scooping work best.

You were learning about learning!

To be a good learner, you have to stick with things and spend time on them. You did that! I wonder what you will do with sand tomorrow.

What Next?

•First I would share this story with Agnes and with other children. I would ask them what they think about the story and ask them what they would like added to the sand pool.
•For Agnes and for other interested children, I would add more tools to the sand pool. In fact, I would add more sand. It would be interesting to see what Agnes does with more tools and more sand.

What did Agnes learn and what sort of qualities and dispositions for learning did she exhibit?

•She was learning about the quality of sand (science).
•She exhibited intense concentration.
•She was making decisions and good choices about which tool to use to be the most efficient.
•She experimented with different tools.
•She was learning about learning. In order to be a good learner you must learn how to stick with something over time.
•She initiated the play with intention and purpose.
•There was nothing haphazard about the activity.
Even very young children can attend for long periods of time if what they are doing is interesting to them.
To Agnes’ Parents: What do you think?
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2 Responses to Young children have short attention spans, don’t they?

  1. Jil says:

    I think adults have short attention spans. We get bored and move the child onto the next activity before they are ready.

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