Motor development and refined control of movement are experienced through the exercises of practical life. Movement is the law of the child being. Indeed, he has a biological need to move. As a physician, Montessori understood the importance of movement. She called her exercises in this area “A help to Life’’. How is motor development encouraged in Montessori classroom? Give examples of exercises that offer opportunities for development in motor development.
Movement is the law of the child’s being, he has a biological need to move. A newly born human remains embryonic after birth. The child at this stage is in complete in relation to power of movement, unlike the other animals that will stand up, run, jump and walk the day they are born. Also the vocal means of expression characteristics of the species is often there from the birth in the case of animals. Though the voices are faint and plaintive, puppies emit a real bark, kittens meow, and lambs bleat. They are endowed with such instinct from birth. “Animals have merely awakened their instincts towards their specified behavior,” (Maria Montessori, Her life and Work chapter XII, page 203). In the case of human baby, it is less complete physically and is much slower to develop its powers of movement. At birth, baby cannot raise himself, cannot speak, cannot walk, he lies inert and helpless for a long time. It takes a period of time before a baby begins to sit up, to crawl, to stand upright and to walk. These inabilities in human baby should not be attributed to muscular weakness but lack of co-ordination in the muscles - i.e. a condition which is due to the fact that the child’s nervous system at birth is incompletely developed. This does not mean that the child has a complete incapacity for coordinated movements. For instance, he knows how to suck which is a complicated action requiring accurate coordination of many muscles. According to Maria Montessori, there is a two-fold development that takes place during the psychic development of a child; the first one is the completion of the physical body and the other is creation of mental facilities. The later distinguishes man from the animals which respond to the instinct at birth, but for the man. “…………in the child, instinct has withdrawn to give place to something higher - to intelligence and will of man”. (Her Life and Work chapter XII, page 202). What this means is that, in the animals, instinct finds its instrument for movement and expression has already formed from birth. Therefore, the creation of intelligence and will make the difference. As one can predict the behaviour of an animal, it is difficult for one to foretell what a man will do in the near future. Man is defined as a natural animal and considered to be the most ‘like to God’ whose image we are made because of the level of reasoning faculty, which is considered to be the highest human faculty. This enables us to do what no animal has ever achieved. That is to rise to a self-conscience. It is through this gift of reasoning or intellect as a foundation, that we are able to build our character. The child’s reasoning begins to function at exactly as a baby. At birth, according to Maria Montessori, the baby start from nothing. Imagining a month old baby who had never been out of the house, his nurse was holding him on her lap when his father and an uncle living in the house appeared together before him. Both men were more or less the same height and the same age. The baby made a start of intense surprise and almost of fear. The two men stayed in front of him, suddenly separated, one moved to the right and the other to the left. The baby turned to gaze at one of them with plain anxiety, and after a while he smiled at him. All at once, his expression again became anxious and more than anxious frightened. Again, with a swift movement he turned his head to stare at the other image, after a while also he smiled at him. The baby repeated this passage...
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