Gables Montessori Blog


Maria Montessori considered the generally accepted idea of gymnastics as inadequate because common schools make children follow definite ordered movements given in the form of commands. She thought that such exercises repress spontaneous movements and impose others. For her, gymnastics and in general muscular education consist of a series of exercises tending to aid the normal development of physiological movements (such as walking, speech, breathing). The muscular education is that one that teaches the child those movements which are useful in the achievement of the most ordinary acts of life; such as dressing, undressing, buttoning their clothes and lacing their shoes, carrying such objects as balls, cubes, etc. The crucial age to do this is between three and six years.

Walking should be a priority in the physical activity of students. Montessori proposes this practice inside the gym and especially outside, in the garden of the school, also she thought of a system with a road designed with a central perimeter fence where young children can rest in seats or better and if possible a fence for climbing where the smallest can support her legs dangling, swinging them.

For gymnastics Maria Montessori considered necessary having apparatus, one of them the trampoline, invented by Séguin to develop the lower limbs, and especially to strengthen the articulation of the knee in weak children. This is a kind of swing with a very wide seat hung from strong cords. The goal is to strengthen the child´s limbs making him pressing his feet in pushing himself back and forth in the swing.

Other important and amusing piece of gymnastic is “The Pendulum” a game which may be played by one child or by several. This consists of rubber balls hung on a cord that can be sending from one to another, helping the arms and the spinal column. The Pendulum helps also the visual coordination by calculating the distance of bodies in motion.

“The Cord” another game, consists of a line, drawn on the earth with chalk. This helps to direct the free movements of children in a given direction.

The free gymnastics are also considered by Montessori Method. Such gymnastics without any apparatus are divided in two classes: directed and required exercises, and free games. In the first class, she recommended the march that could be introduced accompanied with the singing of little songs, as a breathing exercise that reinforces the lungs. In the free games, children play with balls, hoops, bean bags and kites.

The educational gymnastics include two series of exercises which form a part of other school work, as, for instance, the cultivation of the earth, the care of plants and animals. These activities need coordinated movements, the scattering of minute objects, for example, such as corn and oats and also the exercise of opening and closing the gates to the garden.

In the respiratory gymnastics, the respiratory movements are regulated, that is, children are trained in the art of breathing. These exercises help to the correct formation of the child’s speech habits. Some of these movements are: to breathe deeply, lift the shoulders rapidly, lowering the diaphragm or expel breath slowly, lowering shoulders slowly, returning to normal position. These respiratory gymnastics prepare the organs used in the formation of language.

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