“Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed"
- Maria Montessori
Montessori educators know the above quote all too well. Admittedly, it can be tough to allow the child all the time they need in moments of transition, but the success of these moments lead to large bounds in development. A unit about the body is a great way to develop these skills as a group to further the success of all the children in your classroom.
This week we dive into an exploration of the body, its parts, and the skills young children need to develop in order to strengthen their skills of balance and body awareness.
As a young preschooler’s body develops, they must work on the important task of learning body awareness and the control of movement. Everything from walking across the classroom to sitting at a circle or setting up work on a mat requires a child to have focused control of their body in order to be successful.
Maria Montessori knew the importance of giving children the time to build upon these important physical skills. She focused on allowing the child to take their time to complete a task in order to learn the new skills through the use of their fine motor and gross motor skills.
Beginning circle time with a simple walk the line lesson is a wonderful way to incorporate this practice daily. As the routine catches on, children will begin to quickly clean up their work and transition as they hurry to join the group walking the line at the circle. Make this routine easier with an ellipse rug that has a line already dyed onto it. These rugs come in medium and larger sizes as well and fit easily into any classroom.
Learning About the Body and its Systems
Often, we spend a great deal of time focusing on other animals in the Montessori classroom, but what about humans?
Begin the body and its systems unit with songs that focus on gross motor movement. Singing songs like “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” or “The Hokey Pokey”, help children learn coordination, balance and the names of both body parts and directional terms.
As the unit continues, spend time focusing on all the things our body does for us. For example, our lungs fill with air and our heart pumps blood through our body. Children will be fascinated by all of the things that happen naturally within us thanks to the various systems that work in our bodies all the time. Incorporate this exploration through the Multi-Layer Nesting Wood Puzzle: Your Body (Boy), or Body Floor Puzzle which shows different systems through layers of a beautiful wooden puzzle.
The organs, which play a big part in all systems of the body, can be explored through a Human Organs Miniatures and 3-part card set. This set includes a variety of organs that do their part to keep us happy and healthy human beings. When exploring the skeletal system, children can use the Box O’ Bones to build a skeleton one bone at a time. They will love putting together the skeleton and will begin to understand how important our skeletal system is to our bodies, from joints and femurs to our skull.
This week’s worksheet goes along with the organ three part cards and objects work.