Repetition is basic and never considered undesirable. Control of error is basic. In our school the children embarking on a “Going Out” come to an adult in the office to review their plan. We adults are the children’s control of error. We rejoice in their need to repeat. We are like the chauffeur in a “Going Out” – we will not correct the children but only say it’s time to return to the classroom to clarify. The chauffeur doesn’t help find the place on the map, help find parking, lend money, speak to the adults at the destination, etc. The chauffeur returning the children to the classroom feels joyful over the opportunity for repetition.

If the children’s plan or request doesn’t make sense to an adult in the office, the adult with joy in their opportunity for repetition sends them back to work for clarity with their guide, saying, “Looks like you have a very interesting plan going on. Something in here is unclear. Go back and read through it with your guide. I look forward to helping you when you return.”

Here is a description of repetition. Notice how it is cheerful.

from The Advanced Montessori Method; Vol. I, p.68

Montessori on repetition:

“I was making my first essays in applying the principles and part of the material I had used for many years previously in the education of deficient children, to the normal children of the San Lorenzo quarter in Rome, when I happened to notice a little girl of about three years old deeply absorbed in a set of solid insets, removing the wooden cylinders from their respective holes and replacing them. The expression on the child’s face was one of such concentrated attention that it seemed to me an extraordinary manifestation; up to this time none of the children had ever shown such fixity of interest in an object; and my belief in the characteristic instability of attention in young children, who flit incessantly from one thing to another, made me peculiarly alive to the phenomenon.

I watched the child intently without disturbing her at first, and began to count how many times she repeated the exercise; then, seeing that she was continuing for a long time, I picked up the little arm-chair in which she was seated, and placed chair and child upon the table; the little creature hastily caught up her case of insets, laid it across the arms of her chair, and gathering the cylinders into her lap, set to work again. Then I called upon all the children to sing; they sang, but the little girl continued undisturbed, repeating her exercise even after the short song had come to an end. I counted forty-four repetitions; when at last she ceased, it was quite independently of any surrounding stimuli which might have distracted her, and she looked round with a satisfied air, almost as if awaking from a refreshing nap.

I think my never-to-be-forgotten impression was that experienced by one who has made a discovery.

This phenomenon gradually became common among the children: it may therefore be recorded as a constant reaction occurring in connection with certain external conditions, which may be determined. And each time that such a polarisation of attention took place, the child began to be completely transformed, to become calmer, more intelligent, and more expansive; it showed extraordinary spiritual qualities, recalling the phenomena of a higher consciousness, such as those of conversion.”