Montessori understood that children must experience the world through their senses in order for the brain to develop. Being able to see, hear, smell, feel, and yes, taste their environment, is critical. Through movement and sensory input, children develop neural pathways, shaping their emerging minds and gaining control of their bodies. The Montessori philosophy embraces the idea that in order to fully engage with the environment, the child must be free to move.
Montessori Musings: Development of Movement and Motor Skills in ChildrenDevelopment of Movement
I was fortunate to be able to stay home for the first two years after my son was born. When the time came for me to go back to work, I toured the recommended local daycare facility. The infant room was full of cribs, playpens, and high chairs. Movement was restricted and controlled. I left in tears, vowing I’d never place such restriction on a child.
It is amazing to think that within the first three years of a child’s life he accomplishes all major movement milestones: using their vocal chords and mouths to cry, coo, mimic sounds, speak and sing; using their bodies to hold their heads, push up, creep, crawl, sit, stand, walk, run, hop, climb, and dance; and developing their hands to reach, grasp, point, hold a spoon, and write. Development of movement is cephalocaudal – from the top down. In general, children reach important milestones around the same time. It is important to remember, however, that not all children progress at the same time and a caregiver must make careful observations about each child’s developmental milestones. Montessori caregivers must encourage children to extend themselves as they gain independence of movement.
- 7 weeks – able to hold head erect when held upright
- 2 ½ months – holds head steady when sitting up
- 6 months – sits alone
- 8 ½ months – pulls to standing position
- 9 months - crawls
- 12-15 months – walks
In upcoming related blogs, we will look more specifically at independence in the Infant/Toddler, Preschool/Kindergarten, and Elementary Montessori environments.
Here are some links to other NAMC blogs related to Infant/Toddler and movement:
- The Purpose of Play in the Montessori Method
- Montessori Inspired Age Appropriate Toys (Birth to 3 Years)
- Motor Skills and Movement in the Infant / Toddler Montessori Prepared Environment
- Montessori Preschool: Developing Independence, Movement, and Motor Skills
- Montessori Elementary: Developing Independence, Movement, and Motor Skills
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Friday, March 26, 2010.