Montessori toddlers. Maximum Effort. Child with vacuum

The child does not follow the law of the least effort, but a law directly contrary. He uses an immense amount of energy over an unsubstantial end, and he spends, not only driving energy, but intensive energy in the exact execution of every detail.
—Maria Montessori
The Secret of Childhood, p. 204.

Watching my friend’s toddler the other day, I discovered that he is fascinated by their robot vacuum. He has been preoccupied with it for months. When he began crawling, he constantly crawled over to the charging station to push the button. He would watch the vacuum go around the room, often chasing it as fast as he could crawl, laughing and giggling along the way. Now that he can walk, he is no longer content to simply push the button; instead, he picks up and carries the vacuum, placing it in other areas of the house. This is no easy feat as the vacuum easily weighs 7–8 pounds, almost one-third of his body weight! What makes young children pick up and carry heavy objects or attempt “adult” jobs like emptying the dishwasher? Montessori called this the exertion of maximum effort and said that the greater the amount of effort involved in work, the greater the sense of satisfaction. (Montessori, 2012) Children truly need this big, heavy work. It’s as if, once they are mobile, they need to work. The worst thing an adult can do is to stop the child by saying “I’ll do it” or “It’s too heavy.” Instead, we should find work that satisfies the child’s inner drive.

Thursday, June 03, 2021 Continue Reading this Article

NAMC Blog Inquiries Contact Form


Email *

Message *

Search the NAMC Montessori Teacher Training Blog

Are you interested in reading back through NAMC's blog articles from years gone by, or for more information on a specific topic?

Browse a select list of our most popular categories below; by clicking on one, you will see every article posted under that topic since 2007. You may also use the lower archive menu to select a year and month, displaying all blog posts in the chosen time frame.

If you are seeking a range of information on a certain topic or idea, try this search box for site-wide keyword results.

Choose From a List of Popular Article Topics

NAMC Montessori Series

Montessori Philosophy and Methodology

Montessori Classroom Management

The School Year

Montessori Materials

Montessori Curriculum

Montessori Infant/Toddler (0–3) Program

Montessori Early Childhood (3–6) Program

Montessori Elementary (6–12) Programs

What is Montessori?

Search Archives for Montessori Blog Posts by Date

Thank you to the NAMC Montessori community!

NAMC has been providing quality Montessori distance training and curriculum development to Montessorians around the globe for more than 25 years. Since beginning in 1996, we have grown to build a fantastic community of students, graduates, and schools in over 160 countries. We are grateful for your continued support and dedication to furthering the reach and success of the Montessori method.