Another reason we forgo “Baby Einstein”

“Adults have taken it for granted that children are sensible only to gaudy objects, bright colors, and shrill sounds, and they make use of these to attract a child’s attention.  We have all noticed how children are attracted by songs, by the tolling of bells, by flags fluttering in the wind, by brilliant lights, and so forth.  But these violent attractions are external and transitory, and can be more of a distraction than boon.  We might make the comparison with our own way of acting.  If we are busy reading an interesting book and suddenly hear a loud band passing by in the street, we get up and go to the window to see what is happening.  If we were to see someone act in this way, we would hardly conclude that men are particularly attracted by loud sounds.  And yet we make this conclusion about little children.  The fact that a strong, external stimulus catches a child’s attention is merely incidental and has no real relation with the inner life of the child which is responsible for his development.  We can perceive evidence of a child’s inner life in the way he immerses himself in the fixed contemplation of minute things that are of no concern to us.   But one who is attracted by the smallness of an object and focuses his attention upon it does so, not because it has made a striking impression upon him, but simply because his contemplation of it is an expression of an affectionate understanding.”

-Maria Montessori, The Secret of Childhood

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