Saturday, March 6, 2010

Meditative Rice Pouring

As you know, I have my children in a Montessori school because I was unable to continue homeschooling after my divorce and I wanted my children to be at the best nearby school. For us, that happens to be a Montessori school. Today we had the Silent Journey which is a time when parents explore the classroom in a hands-on way. Children are not present -- no distractions -- it is just you and the materials. I was in the Primary classroom where my five year old daughter Becca has her lessons. I was drawn to the rice pouring activity and when I sat down to read the directions, I was blown away. Bear in mind that children as young as 3 do this activity. Here is how it is done.

Set up: Two small sturdy glass pitchers on a tray. One is filled with plain uncooked rice (the right hand one). The other is empty.

1. Sit down.

2. Take the two pitchers, one in each hand, and raise them simultaneously. Lift them above the tray and keep them level.

3. Center the spout of the right hand pitcher over the middle of the left hand pitcher and pour the rice, without letting the two pitchers touch.

4. Return the right hand pitcher to the level position above the tray.

5. Rotate the two pitchers so that their handles are in front of you.

6. Set them down on the table in front of the tray.

7. Look to see if you spilled any rice.

8. With your right hand, lift the pitcher on the left (crossing the mid-line). With your left hand, lift the pitcher on the right.

9. Return them to the tray, with the filled pitcher on the right hand side.

10. Repeat 8-12 times.

I felt like I was doing the Japanese tea ceremony! It was so rhythmical, so repetitive, so meditative. I was entranced. It was a magical experience.

It's common knowledge that Maria Montessori designed pouring as a Work in the Primary classroom, but I never once tried it for myself and realized all the steps involved. I thought it was little more than hand-eye coordination. Boy was I wrong! We are talking serious meditation here, folks. This might be an activity I try at night to calm myself down before bed and help me sleep... And Crate and Barrel sells these for $1.95 each.

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