Adapted from Angeline Stoll Lillard’s “Montessori – The Science behind the Genius”

As a continuation from the previous newsletter, I offer more reasons as to why we are offering the Montessori method of pedagogy: following on from the 8 basic principles, I wish to review the first principle: that movement and cognition are closely intertwined.

Quite simply, it is universally accepted that we learn easily an best using concrete concepts around which we may move – we struggle with sitting still and having abstract ideas tossed at us!  Educators who made a significant contribution to showing understanding of how children develop, including Maria Montessori and Piaget, concluded that nothing is learned if not touched and explored by the hands first – “thinking seems to be expressed by the hands before it can be put into words”.  In small children, thinking and moving are the same process. It was based on this observation that Montessori developed much of her material, especially for children under the age of 6.  Recently, there has been a great deal of research done on the connection between movement and the ability to learn, and the conclusion thus far seems to imply that education needs to involve movement, in order to be able to learn.

Based on the above, one needs to understand that we do movement more than anything else, to achieve an end result, and do not wish to push abstract concepts where the concrete, along with moving, can embed and aid learning, concentration and thus overall satisfaction, for children.  Only once all of this is achieved, will it be easier  for a child to sit and move onto more abstract concepts.  As an aid, for parents, if they struggle at a particular part of the day: getting up and being ready for school, or settling in to do chores – send them out onto a trampoline, let them do roly-poly’s, star jumps, skip to the gate and back – then ask them to apply themselves to the task again, you may be surprised.  It can be a bit like pressing a reboot button!

In the next post I will cover the next principle about control and how we need to let our children handle stuff!