Constant noise can lead to irritability, frustration, confusion, and even a feeling of brain fog. Both the adult and the child brain need moments of peace to rest, calm down and concentrate. However,in today’s world we live more and more invaded by sound and constant stimuli, making it difficult to find those moments of tranquility.
In the case of children, this tranquility is even more important since it allows them to find balance, enhances concentration and exercises patience. Therefore, parents and teachers alike should practice the “silence game” from time to time.
How did the idea come about?
Maria Montessori created the game of silence while working with children who were hard of hearing as she noticed that they could hear better when they paid more attention to sounds. Standing at the back of the room, with the children with their backs to her, Montessori said their names in a low voice, wrapped in silence, and when the students heard her, they got up and went to her.
Obviously, the game of silence requires practice. Young children have relatively short attention spans, making it more difficult for them to remain still and quiet for more than 5 minutes. However, with practice their concentration and self-control improve, they learn to relax and better appreciate the world around them.
When are children ready for this game?
The game of silence is recommended for children aged four in go ahead, although there are those who start much earlier, with children who are two and a half years old. However, rather than set a fixed age, it is recommended that children have made some progress before putting this activity into practice:
- Be able to control their movements.
- Be able to sit quietly and listen for a few minutes.
- Be able to concentrate and work independently.
- That they be able to cooperate with each other.
In addition to these requirements, it is necessary to choose a time when keep the kids calm. If they come back from recess or sports and are excited, they won’t be able to stay calm and quiet, so it’s best to put the game off for another time.
There are also some exercises you can try to get going. preparing the children for this game. These activities aim to hone their listening and concentration skills:
- Pass a bell from hand to hand around the circle, encouraging the children not to sound.
- Pause the class so that the children listen to the birds singing or the rain hitting the window panes.
- Have the children close their eyes and plays various familiar instruments, so they can identify them without seeing them.
- Sit quietly with your eyes closed for a short period of time, at first only 20 or 30 seconds will suffice, and ask them what sounds they heard.
How is the game of silence applied?
- Invite all the children to participate in the game of silence and ask them to sit on the floor forming a circle.
- Explain that you are all going to play together, so no one will be able to make any noise. They have to remain silent, like a flower or a rock. When you say the word “quiet” everyone will have to stay quiet and calm.
- Then, you will say their names in a low voice and they will have to get up, making as little noise as possible, to go and sit next to you.
- When you have said all the names, you can ring a bell or any other instrument to mark the end of the silence.
- Ask them to comment on what they heard or felt during that time of silence.
As they progress through the game, you can ask them to close their eyes so they can concentrate better and notice the sensations they experience, so they can later share them with their partners.