Montessori: the power of repetition during learning difficulties


In learning, the importance of repetition is no longer to be demonstrated. The latest discoveries in neuroscience prove it. 

Example: the more I play the piano, the more I become a virtuoso. My knowledge becomes more stable, more solid because repetition traces and digs real furrows in my brain. 

On the other hand, if you have stopped playing the piano for 10 years, you feel that when you get back to it you can’t start again exactly where you stopped it. The neural connections are still there, but they are very thin. 

How can we make sure that the brain keeps the information as long as possible?

Well, we’ll have to go against a preconceived idea already! The brain doesn’t just store. It sorts the information and those that it doesn’t think are important, it doesn’t keep.  

Know that without your knowledge, since you’ve been watching this video, your brain has been sorting through what I say, sometimes it keeps, sometimes it doesn’t. This is why many people take notes or highlight important passages in a book. 

It is true that our brain is so busy during the day that it sorts out: that I keep, that I don’t keep. 

But when the brain sees information pass twice a day, it wonders and says to itself: “yours! Maybe I should keep it! » 

Repetition in children with learning difficulties and Montessori

So let’s get back to our Dylan. He uses a cylinder block that includes 10 cylinders. When he looks at the presentation, he will see 10 times the same series of gestures:

  • Open all 3 fingers
  • Grasp the button above the cylinder
  • Lift slowly
  • Gently place the cylinder on the table

His brain sees this group of gestures 10 times, he understands that it is necessary to retain it.

Sometimes for some children we did the presentation twice.

But for his brain to remember this, the child will have to practice and not just once in a while.

So, his muscle memory will start working! Dylan has done a total of 20 times these groups of gestures. For his brain, the message is clear!

But note that for these children it is important the next day, I mean the next day to perhaps resume the presentation to launch the information to the brain, It is important! 

Then let him practice 1, 2, 3 or even 10 times all the work. And this time the brain understands: “I keep it in long-term memory.”

It should be noted that if the child does not see anything in 24 hours, then he only keeps 25% of what he has learned. After a week, 7 to 8%. After 1 month 2 or 3%.

But for a child with learning difficulties, it’s even worse. 

What to remember

  • The brain not only stores, it sorts and eliminates what it doesn’t think is important.
  • Repetition is essential to learning.
  • The brain understands by repeating that information should not be eliminated.
  • Montessori equipment allows and encourages repetition.

My gift to you

“The child, both young and old, feels a need to do exercises over and over again and to follow his own path of development by his own means.” Maria Montessori


Élisabeth Chastel

Mother of 3 daughters, a loving grandmother, Elisabeth Chastel left France after her studies to practice as a nurse in Africa. There, in the north of Cameroon, she discovered that in order to provide better care, it was necessary to consider the human being as a whole, taking into account his culture, his family, his beliefs... She needed to consider medicine differently. On her return, she looked for an educational alternative for her own children, and discovered Montessori education. Since then, she got trained in 3-6 years and 6-12 years, set up a school, worked in others, participated in the creation of 2 Montessori training centers... A life dedicated to the cause of children, without ever giving up her enthusiasm or her thirst to learn. In particular, she discovered a few years ago that Montessori pedagogy could also effectively accompany children with special needs and disabilities. These are all the experiences she wants to share with us in her blog - her vlog rather, since Elisabeth prefers videos :)