Friday, April 27, 2012

Movement (part 1)

Preparing to teach Montessori Movement to future Montessori teachers tomorrow. 8 hr class...topics include; What Maria Montessori thought about movement, How Movement is incorporated into the Montessori classroom, Fundamental Skills, Games, Literature & Movement--this incorporates about 7 hours of movement...


Dr. Montessori’s Own Handbook, Maria Montessori, pg 52

“The education of the movements is very complex, as it must correspond to all the coordinated movements which the child has to establish in his physiological organism.  The child, if left without guidance, is disorderly in his movements, and these disorderly movements are the special characteristic of the little child.  In fact, he “never keeps still,” and “touches everything.”  This is what forms the child’s so-called “unruliness” and “naughtiness.”

The adult would deal with him by checking these movements, with the monotonous and useless repetition “keep still.”  As a matter of fact, in these movements the little one is seeking the very exercise which will organize and coordinate the movements useful to man.  We must, therefore, desist from the useless attempt to reduce the child to a state of immobility.  We should rather give “order” to his movements, leading them to those actions towards which his efforts are actually tending.  This is the aim of muscular education at this age.

The Essential Montessori, Elizabeth G. Hainstock, pg 102

Montessori felt that gymnastics programs in the regular schools were inadequate, and she objected to the disciplined regimen used in presenting it to children.  She felt that this repressed their spontaneous movements.
We must understand by gymnastics and in general by muscular education a series of exercises teaching to aid the normal development (such as walking, breathing, speech), to protect this development, when the child shows himself backwards or abnormal in any way, and to encourage in the children those movements which are useful in the achievement of the most ordinary acts of life; such as dressing, undressing, buttoning their clothes, and lacing their shoes, carrying such objects as balls, cubes, etc.  If there exists an age in which it is necessary to protect a child by means of a series of gymnastic exercises, between three to six years is undoubtedly the age. (MM, 130)

Once again, through observation, Montessori worked out various exercises to aid the children in muscular control and coordination of movements, while exercising different parts of the body.  There were also “free” gymnastics, the normal childhood games played with balls, hoops, bean bags, etc., and preferably done outdoors to take advantage of the fresh air.  She felt exercises pertaining to correct carriage, the respiratory system, speech habits, and exercise for fingers were all of equal importance.  Naturally, the exercises for practical life are the sensory materials aided her plan for muscular education.
The educational value of a movement depends on the finality of the movement; and it must be such that it helps the child to perfect something in himself; either it perfects the voluntary muscular system; or some mental capacity; or both.  Educational movement must always be an activity which builds and fortifies the personality, giving him a new power and not leaving him where he was…(D, 142)Physical education was an integral part of developing the total child.  Apart from gymnastics it also emphasized the hygienic aspect of fresh air, through visits to the park or beach and walks within the city.  Not restricting the child’s movements with excessive clothing was something that Montessori also stressed.