New Paradigm by Dr. Montessori (cont.)


One of Dr. Montessori’s first premises was that, in order for the young child’s intellect to be free and to create, his body must be physically free as well. Since the first Montessori schools opened in the U.S. in the early 20th century, most early childhood specialists have feared that the Montessori child would focus on academic skills at the expense of socialization and play. If Montessori education were paper and pencil work at a table, they might be right. A Montessori classroom, however, is founded on the free but controlled movement of the child. Her first small, low tables were not nailed to the floor but were portable and available for the young children to carry them as they needed. Purposeful movement in young children, ages two-and-a-half to six, brings awe to the observer. How can these children know what to choose and where to get it? How can physical and mental discipline come about with such freedom of movement? Is it possible for these children to be well-disciplined without being made to sit for long periods in their desk? Finally today, researchers on the human brain are finding that real and profound learning happens when children are allowed to move their bodies throughout space in the classroom. Entrusted by teachers, the child sharpens his pencil and uses the bathroom at will. He moves about as a free agent, only limited by his own muscle development and will.