Making Time and Space for Movement
“Movement is… an essential part of life, and education cannot be conceived of as moderating or, what is worse, inhibiting it. Rather it should permit a child’s energies to develop normally and assist him to exert them more profitably.” Maria Montessori, The Discovery of the Child We lost so much when we lost our West campus to the flood […]
“Movement is… an essential part of life, and education cannot be conceived of as moderating or, what is worse, inhibiting it. Rather it should permit a child’s energies to develop normally and assist him to exert them more profitably.” Maria Montessori, The Discovery of the Child
We lost so much when we lost our West campus to the flood caused by Hurricane Ida. One of the losses we have felt most acutely has been the loss of our beloved courtyard. We have all come to see how much we took that space for granted. The courtyard was the site of the children’s most exuberant and unrestricted gross motor movement. As this quote suggests, freedom of movement is a key tenet of Montessori philosophy. In our new North campus, we have had to be very creative in carving out space and time to ensure that the children have the opportunity to leap, run, and wiggle freely. This has led to opportunities for trips to area parks and lots of movement games in our new Movement area downstairs.
We have gotten to go on many neighbourhood walks; to visit Sister Cities park, Von Colln park, and the Library green space; and to play countless games of freeze dance, musical dots, simon says, night at the museum, and duck, duck, goose. Duck, duck, goose has become a fan favorite!
Check out some of the uninhibited movement we’ve witnessed so far this year:
In a Montessori environment, we view the work the children use within the classroom to be expressions of movement as well. The materials are designed to support the children in learning through movement and, through their learning, to perfect those movements.
There is a Montessori adage that a teacher should never give more to the mind than they give to the hand. Which is to say, that the teacher can’t just explain a concept to a child- especially at this stage of development- they must allow the child to manipulate and explore concepts concretely. In a Montessori environment, we offer, in every area of the curriculum, the opportunity for truly hands-on learning.
The exercises your child does in Practical Life help them practice everyday movements and refine their skills at pouring, spooning, sewing, folding etc. These skills, in turn, help them to be independent in their work in other areas. As your child works with the Sensorial materials, they are touching, smelling, seeing, and hearing while moving their hands and bodies. Your child’s work with the Sensorial materials supports them in developing not only their senses, but also their fine motor skills- such as their pincer grip, which is essential when holding a pencil to write. Montessori language material engages your child in gross and fine motor movement as a means of enriching their knowledge and expression of oral and written language. For instance, they don’t just read phrases, they act them out as well. And they don’t just look at letters to learn them, they trace each letter with their fingers to create sensorial impressions. Your child’s work in math is done using concrete material that allows them to actually hold a representation 1,000 or to touch each individual unit bead of a 10 bar as they count. This gives your child a corporal and visceral understanding of all these concepts, while also allowing them to explore them through movement.
Movement is foundational for each child’s learning in a Montessori environment.
We are looking forward to supporting your child’s learning and development this year through movement.
Ms. Jamie, Ms. Maggie, Ms. Allison, Ms. Diana, Ms. Kate, and Mr. Matt
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