Yesterday, some Primary (3-6 year-old) children were sorting pictures into two piles, “plants” and “animals”. The plants might have been green, the animals might have been able to move on their own. There are clues that sometimes help us sort most plants from most animals.
Sometimes, we sort “living” and “non-living” things. This can be more difficult than it looks. Usually, the living things can be seen to move.
Maria Montessori, in 1949, explained what she had observed, that movement is a natural tendency. She pointed out in her book, The Absorbent Mind, that the nervous system has a brain, or center, the senses, which collect the impressions and the muscles, which do the moving, all connected by nerves, “like cables for transmitting nervous energy to the muscles.” The reason for all this organization is to allow the organism to move, she instructed: “Movement is the final result to which the working of all these delicate mechanisms leads.”
“When we think of intellectual activity, we always imagine people sitting still, motionless,” Montessori said, “but mental development must be connected with movement and be dependent on it.”
So, we move in school. The freedom to move about is sacred to us, almost as sacred as the freedom to choose our own work, which we may address in a later blog entry.
Here are a few illustrations of movement within the normal school day, during our long work periods and during our group activities such as setting up for lunch, playing outside, carrying out classroom cleaning chores, or singing and dancing in celebration: