There is a good deal of information and photographs online for the walking on the line activity that are mis-leading at best and downright inaccurate at worst.
Some points that are the most readily confused:
- The line can be an ellipse or a wandering line with gentle curves - we do not want corners or sharp curves. When long enough, it provides some "straight" lengths without the need for corners.
- The line is a silent individual activity, but many children can do it at the same time. In a classroom, a group of children would be given the presentation.
- The width of the line should be about half the width of the child's foot, in the ideal situation. Otherwise, three-quarter of an inch should be the narrowest.
- The line should be a different texture from the floor itself, so the children can feel the difference (tying in the practice of wearing socks or being barefoot when doing this activity) - being barefoot helps in self-awareness and self-presence as well. ;)
- It should be noticable in color when looking at it, but not distracting when looking at objects close to it. A different shade of the same color as the flooring is highly recommended.
An observation of the benefits of walking on the line: Walking on the Line Thoughts
Montessori's own writings on this topic - I am not including what others have written:
- Discovery of the Child: depending on your edition, look around pages 89-126, in various places; some editions include walking on the line in the illustrations as well.
- Absorbent Mind: depending on your edition, look around 195-224
- Montessori Method (good for historical reading, was updated and renamed Discovery of the Child): 140-141, 339, 342-343
- Montessori's Own Handbook (good for historical reading, this book was never updated): 26-28, 63, 64; illustrations 60, 62. In the Schocken edition: 63.
- Advanced Montessori Method, Volume 2 - Montessori Elementary Material: 251-352, illustration 352
- The Secret of Childhood: depending on your edition, 75-98
- Education for a New World: 34, 59
- The Montessori Index also suggests I cross-reference Gymnastics and the Silence Game - so any portions of Montessori's books that mention those two are likely to include Walking on the Line as well - or at least relate.
Some links for more information on Walking on the Line:
- A section of this introduction to the Exercises of Practical Life by Ginny Sacket, AMI trainer
- An article by Joan Bettman on Grace and Courtesy
There are more accurate resources available I am sure, but these were the ones I found the most quickly.
More recent scientific findings on the benefits of walking on the line?
Do a web search for "proprioception and walking on the line". Note all the exercises which utilize walking on a line as therapy for a variety of concerns. Then compare those exercises to the stages of the walking on the line activity in a Montessori resource that includes *all* the stages.
Just another area that modern research is corroborating everything Montessori observed over 100 years ago.