Maria Montessori defined the first plane of development (which takes place from birth to six years) as a period of “absorbent mind”. And I can truly see how “absorbent” Adrian is at 28 months: he is watching, and he is doing. Adrian has been observing Julia using scissors for quite a while now and of course, he wants to imitate.
"It is after this that the child, who can now walk and feels confident of his strength, begins to notice the actions of those about him, and tries to do the same things. In this period he imitates not because someone has told him to do so, but because of a deep inner need which he feels." ~ Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind, p.143.
Adrian has been working with scissors for a few months now, making small fringe-cuttings whenever he sees Julia cutting. It is very important to instill the proper scissor grip from the beginning since the longer the child uses an incorrect grip, the more difficult it will be to unlearn such habit.
Just like a proper pencil grip or a pincer grip (holding small items with a thumb and a pointer finger), the proper scissors grip must be actively taught since it is completely unlike any other grips a child has used. The proper scissors grip requires a child to rotate his hand so that the thumb faces up, while the pinky points down. A child has to spread his thumb and pointer finger as far apart as possible while using his palm to help stabilize the scissors. Cutting can be challenging for little ones, and the only way to become comfortable is with frequent practice.
First, I demonstrated to Adrian a proper scissors grip: a thumb in the large circular loop on top and one (or two) fingers in the larger loop on the bottom. I asked him to spread his index finger and thumb as widely as possible, thus opening the blades of the scissors widely. At first, Adrian kept reverting back to an incorrect grip (using both hands to open and close the blades of the scissors) which will allow him to cut but without any precision or efficiency. However, with some practice, he was able to cut using a proper scissors grip!
Most children become interested in using scissors around the age two and a half or three. The main thing is to notice and follow the child to help him/her master the proper scissors grip. Maria Montessori said:
“The first essential for the child’s development is concentration. The child who concentrates is immensely happy.” And cutting definitely requires concentration.
Concentration = Satisfaction = Happiness
Can I ask for more from simple cutting?
For more on scissor practice, see here ✂️Scissors •DIY 🚗Car Wash.