Parents ask the best questions after observing in a classroom!
One parent observed children occasionally taking a break from intense focus on their work. A child might be working with focus, and then spend time gazing around the room or off into space. That’s a good observation.
Sometimes when that happens, a child is thinking! Sometimes a child might be taking a mental break. I know that I do that when I am working. Maybe I am working on financial reports, and find that I need a break. I look away from my computer for a while, or maybe change activity for a while – go check the mail box or load the dishwasher! I’m giving my brain a chance to rest from intense, high brain activity.
Children in a Montessori class sometimes put out a name tag to save a work, and then go to eat snack, or read a book, before returning to their work. An elementary aged child might save a work with a name tag, and then choose a different type of work. In our school, a child might switch from working on a math equation, to working on a map, for example. The goal is for the child to complete their activities by the end of the week. Completing a map might take several days. We allow each child to find his or her own rhythm for learning and completing work!
I just love getting questions from parents.