Monday, December 21, 2015

Special Needs and Montessori - Can it be done?

Montessori for Special Needs

Can it be done?

Um. Yes. Montessori started with special needs and found the experiences were applicable to the universal child. Even with "typically developing" children, there are always slight modifications to be made to suit personal interest, time of day, personality quirks and more. So we Montessorians just look to the individual child's needs in how to present the key experiences for their plane of development.

Previous Montessori Nuggets - not an all-inclusive list:


A foundation to understanding that Montessori is useful for all children - the universal child, regardless of personal interests, personalities or learning needs:

Montessori Books about Special Needs: 


Additional Resources for Special Needs as related to Montessori:

NOTE: The word "disadvantaged" has changed in meaning over the years. Previously, it was used to describe socio-economic factors with perhaps some inclusion of special needs. Currently, the word disadvantaged is more often applied to children with special needs, but can still be used in other ways. There is a book by Reginald C Orem about Montessori and the Disadvantaged - it is more focused on the socio-economic factors, more-so than special needs factors.







Sunday, December 13, 2015

Walking on the Line - Control of Movement

Walking on the line in the Montessori Environment - not an readily understood area of the Montessori experience.

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: 


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. 

Amazing stuff! 


Just another area that modern research is corroborating everything Montessori observed over 100 years ago.