Welcome to the Montessori N' Such Blog. Each week we will bring you some fresh ideas for your classroom along with some suggested lessons and a free printable worksheet. The newsletters will build upon each other and will give you relatable lesson plans, topics and discussions to spark conversations in your school and ignite the joy of learning in the classroom.
“Watching a child makes it obvious that the development of his mind comes about through his movements.” Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind
Young children are naturally busy and need to move. Maria Montessori created the “Walking the Line” lesson after observing children in the county balancing on sticks and logs. Maria Montessori recognized the importance of movement activities within the classroom. She created the walking the line lesson for children to practice balance, while also centering the mind and body through movement and concentration. The walking the line rugs give a permanent and beautiful space for children to center their energy and re-focus. The rugs come in three different sizes including large 10’x13’, medium size 7’8” x 10’9” and small 5’4” x 7’8”. The different sizes allow
for flexibility in placement and use. The teacher can purchase the larger rug and use it for circle time. The ellipse gives a clear space for children to sit, making it easier to make a circle during this important daily activity. The smaller rug could be used in a toddler classroom or in a preschool movement area to support concentrated movement for young students.
Walking the Line:
The line is a large ellipse, this shape allows the child to practice walking on straight lines and on curves, which increases the challenge and concentration. Children starting at age 2 are in the sensitive period for coordination and movement. This simple activity of walking the line begins with the child carefully placing their feet, heel to toe on the line, while holding their arms out to their sides to increase balance. Children are encouraged to get their feet closer together to increase the difficulty. The young child must concentrate to stay on the line. The child through this repetitive movement activity gains a sense of relaxation and harmony. A student can be directed to walking the line when the teacher sees that the child needs movement or after a difficult academic task that required sustained attention.
Walking the Line to Gather Students:
A teacher can use the walking the line rugs on a daily basis to support students in transitioning to circle time. The teacher puts on music and starts walking the line, while encouraging students to clean up and join. This is a way to quietly transition students while also giving them a movement activity. Transitioning to a new task and waiting for peers to join can be challenging for young students. This simple activity of walking the line allows time for students to complete and put away works, while also enticing students to join circle time. The teacher can keep this transition engaging by varying the speed and introducing language such as slowly and quickly. Teachers can move their body to the beat of the music, while continuing to balance and walk the line.
Walking the Line Extensions:
When the children in the classroom become more confident in walking around the ellipse, adding extensions to increase the challenge is important to keep the activity engaging. Students can hold a flag or bell at arm’s length and walk carefully so the flag does not wave, or the bell does not make any noise. Another extension includes using a bean bag, either balancing the bean bag on a spoon or on the child’s head. The small fruit bean bags are a great extension to walking the line.
Other Activities to Support Movement and Concentration:
Young children have BIG emotions, using activities that require muscle coordination, movement and concentration allow student to calm the body and the mind. Use a finger labyrinth in the sand or corn meal tray to help a student calm down. This Buddha Zen Natural Stone Board would also make a great addition to your peace shelf.