One challenging and enjoyable work in the Primary environment involves real scissors for children ready to wield them. Cutting on Lines can be appropriate for children as young as 2.5, with the only prerequisite lesson being handling sharp objects. Here, a young child receives the lesson from Primary Guide Reghan McAuley on a sunny September morning.
Care is taken in handling the sharp scissors; the Guide places her thumb through the smaller hole, and her fingers through the larger hole of the scissors. She moves slowly and thoughtfully as the child watches.
If the child’s eyes stray while the Guide is giving the lesson, she stops and gently redirects his attention back to the task. He watches attentively as she lines up the scissors along the first line on the strip of paper, then cuts it so that it falls into the bowl.
Now, it is his turn! Completing this straightforward work requires that a child have sufficient hand and finger strength. Once he is given this lesson, a child often returns to it again and again to gain mastery. It is such a satisfying work!
If you receive an envelope filled with many small strips of cut paper, you will know the care and hard work that went into handling the scissors, holding the paper just so, and coordinating many movements to make this happen. Cutting on Lines is a wonderful demonstration of fine motor skills and practice in concentration!
“A three-year-old educated according to Montessori pedagogy, becomes a master of his hand and undertakes with a joy a variety of human activities. These activities allow him to develop the power of concentration.” (San Remo Lectures, p. 27)