It was lunch time in the environment for 3 to 6 year olds that I was working in. The younger children were going home while the older ones were preparing the classroom by reorganising the furniture so that all the children could sit in small groups to have lunch. One such group had already formed and were ready to begin their lunch. There were three children in that group and all of them opened their lunch boxes and were discussing what they had brought. One little boy of about 3 and a half years came running towards this group with a loud cry. These three children immediately stopped their discussion and looked at him inquiringly. They asked him about the reason for his unhappiness. The little boy complained that someone else had sat where he wanted to sit to eat.

One of the girls from this group looked at him and said, “Don’t worry, tomorrow we will start lunch a little earlier so that you can sit where you want to, but now, come join our group, we will make space for you”. And without any fuss, they all closed their boxes and adjusted their positions to make space so the little one could sit comfortably and eat. They waited until he began before they did.

This incident made me realise children’s innate compassion in helping others in distress by finding solutions for a problem and putting aside their own needs for the sake of others. It made me wonder about how many other such incidents go unnoticed.

– by Hema Rangarajan, AMI Primary Montessori Trainer