Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Montessori Preschool: Developing Independence, Movement, and Motor Skills

My son turns 14 this month. As a Montessori mom and educator, with each passing year I am reminded of the stages of development he’s gone through. As high school looms in the not so distant future, visions of driver’s education flash before my eyes as I prepare myself for the day I hear “Let me take the car, Mom. I can drive there by myself”.

“I can do it myself”. A big statement at any age, but never so big as the transitional stage between toddlers and preschoolers. Their fierce drive to be independent permeates and dominates their world. From eating to dressing, from toileting to pouring juice, the preschool child faces each new challenge as one to be attempted, practiced, and mastered. Success now ensures success for life.

Dr. Montessori stated that, in our attempts to aid or help the child, we were really hindering the child’s development. While we would like to shield our children from making mistakes or would like them to hurry and let us help them dressed so we are not late leaving the house, they will not learn the skills necessary to be independent if we do for them what they are capable of doing for themselves.

Montessori Preschool: Developing Independence, Movement, and Motor Skills

Studies have shown that children retain 20% of information obtained auditorially, 30% visually, and 70% from ‘doing’, or what we sometimes refer to as active learning. The Montessori environment is prepared so that children interact constantly with the Montessori learning materials and the prepared environment.

Through the five senses and especially through movement Montessori students discover, explore and even influence the world around them. In essence, they are creating their minds through movement.

NAMC montessori preschool developing independence movement motor skills activities
The Sensorial and Practical Life areas in the Montessori preschool environment require exactness in movement in order to succeed at a particular work. Other curriculum areas of the Montessori preschool environment also incorporate sensorial learning materials, such as puzzle maps and manipulative calendars in Montessori Culture & Science, the Golden and Colored Beads in Mathematics, and the Sandpaper Letters in Language Arts. This exactness in movement in the use of Montessori learning materials begins the process of learning in very concrete ways, fostering the development of motor skills, coordination, attention, focus, and competence, that lead to the child’s independence. Through real-life experience in the Montessori prepared environment, the child constructs his own reality, awakening curiosity, creativity, and intelligence.

See our other related blogs in this series:
As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Tuesday, April 6, 2010.


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