Dr. Montessori felt that movement was vital to a child’s education. “But movement is a part of man’s very personality, and nothing can take its place.” She writes in The Secret of Childhood. (p. 97) She instructed educators not to inhibit movement but to give order to a child’s movements.
“We must 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 toward which his efforts are actually tending. “ Dr. Montessori’s Own Handbook. (p. 52)
Therefore in Montessori classrooms children are given LOTS of opportunity for movement. Materials are carried to rugs and tables before working with. Rugs are rolled up and chairs are pushed in when a child is finished. Activities are carefully chosen so that they do not hinder a child’s movements. For example, a teacher makes sure a pitcher is easy to grasp and balance so that the child can practice pouring and not get frustrated with the pitcher’s handle.
One exercise that Dr. Montessori developed for teaching movement is called “walking on the line.” In our classroom we have a large circle taped to the floor. At first we showed children how to walk, one at a time trying to balance as if the tape were a balance beam. We then added interest by giving children something to carry as they walked. Then we added some lovely piano music composed by Sanford Jones , a Montessori teacher who has created many musical activities for children. We now walk, march, gallop and run (without shoes,) a few at a time and have a lot of fun. The children really enjoy this activity and it is great to see their coordination and sense of rhythm develop.
Another movement exercise the children are currently enjoying is to build a maze with the red rods and then take turns walking through it. A teacher stands by and helps straighten the maze when necessary and help with turn taking if needed but this is mostly an independent activity.