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Quotes

Movement

Movement Quotes
Montessori, Maria, THE CHILD IN THE FAMILY, 2007, Montessori
Pierson Publishing Company
Ch. 5, Pg. 18
Physical movement ought to come from within and be organized by the inner life of the
child. It is this organization that was described earlier as incarnation. Muscles do not develop
correctly unless they do so at the service of the will, for physical movement is the expression
of an operative will. We can do nothing but wait for this inner life to organize itself.

Ch. 6, Pg. 31
Furthermore, we see that there exists a strict relationship between manual labor and deep
concentration of the spirit. At first glance these might appear to be opposed, but they are
profoundly compatible, for the one is the source of the other.
The man who understands himself clearly responds to the necessities of his inner life exactly
as the body responds to physical necessities such as hunger and sleep. The mind that does not
respond to its own spiritual necessities runs the same risks as the body that no longer responds
to hunger pangs or the need to rest.

Ch. 9, Pg. 58
The capacity of the childs will is demonstrated in the quantity of meaningful movements he
can continually achieve. Even before he speaks, indeed, even before he walks somewhere
near the end of his first year of life he begins to act as if he were obeying an inner voice.

Montessori, Maria, THE DISCOVERY OF THE CHILD, 2007, Montessori


Pierson Publishing Company
Ch.5, Pg. 78
The nervous system can be divided into the sympathetic nervous system, which largely
controls the organic functions of the body and is closely connected with the emotions, and the
central nervous system with its countless ramifications which put the sense organs in contact
with the external world and subject the voluntary muscles to the control of the will. The
presence of both emotions and the will indicate that the sympathetic system is both
subordinate to, and dependent upon, the central nervous system. And this must be carefully
taken into account by anyone interested in education.

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Ch.5, Pg. 79
Muscles make up the greater portion of a persons body. They are attached to the skeleton
which acts as a support for them and as a protection for the centres of the nervous and
circulatory systems. It is through his muscles that a man can act on the external world and
give expression to his thoughts.
The will carries out its desires through these marvelous instruments of motion. The mind
must have all these means of expression by means of which its concepts are changed into
action and its feelings are carried out in works.

Ch.5, Pg. 80
In the area of teaching, this had led to demands for an active life, that is, for an increase of
physical activity, with the primary hope of reviving and intensifying the vegetative life..
Mental work should be accompanied by an appreciation of what is true ad beautiful which
will animate it, and by movements which bring ideas into play and leave their traces on the
external world, where man should help each other. The actions of the muscles should always
be at the service of the mind and should not stoop to make themselves servants of what is
known as the vegetative or physical life of man.

Ch.5, Pg. 81
One of the most important practical aspects of our method has been to make the training of
the muscles enter into the very life of the children so that it is intimately connected with their
daily activities. Education in movement is thus fully incorporated into the education of the
childs personality.

Ch.5, Pg. 82
But movement always remains as the basis for a life of relationships, for it is precisely this
capacity to move that distinguishes man and in fact the whole animal kingdom from the
vegetable world. Movement is therefore an essential part of life, and education cannot be
conceived as moderating or, what is worse, inhibiting it. Rather it should permit a childs
energies to develop normally and assist him to exert them more profitably.

Ch.5, Pg. 83
By a habit of work a child learns how to move his hands and arms and to strengthen his
muscles more than he does through ordinary gymnastic exercises. Nevertheless the exercises
of practical life cannot be regarded as a simple kind of gymnastics; they are work. But the
work is refreshing and not tiring because of the interest which one takes in all his movements.
It is a natural exercise, since man ought to have some object in view when he moves. The
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muscles should always serve the intellect and thus preserve their functional unity with the
human personality. If a man is an intelligent creature and muscularly active, then his rest lies
in intelligent activity, just as the rest of every being lies in the normal exercise of its proper
functions. We must therefore provide a child in his environment with means for exercising his
activities.

Ch.5, Pg. 85
A child is constantly inspecting his surroundings, his house; and when a chair is out of place,
making the room look disorderly, we can be certain that it will be the smallest children who
notice it. Before a child reaches the age of three, the highest form of work and the most
ennobling that engages him is that of arranging furniture and putting things in order, and it is
also the one that calls for the greatest activity.

Ch.5, Pg. 86
It would be a mistake to attempt to estimate a childs capacity for work according to his age
before testing him, or to exclude any from a task to be done on the grounds that they could not
be of any assistance. A teacher should always open up the way, and should never discourage a
child through lack of confidence in him. Even the littlest children are anxious to do something
and are more anxious to exert themselves than those who are older.
The importance of the work does not bother children, they are satisfied when they have done
as much as they can and see that they are not excluded from an opportunity to exert
themselves in their surroundings. The most admired work is that which offers the greatest
opportunities to each one.

Ch.5, Pg. 88
Every complex action comprises a series of distinct movements; one act follows the other.
The analysis of movements consists in trying to recognize and to carry out exactly these
separate and distinct acts.

Montessori, Maria, EDUCATION AND PEACE, 2007, Montessori


Pierson Publishing Company
Part II, Ch.11, Pg 80
The child must always be given work to do with his hands as he works with his mind, for the
childs personality has a functional unity.

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Montessori, Maria - The 1946 London Lectures, The Montessori series,


volume 17, Montesosori Pierson Publishing Company
Lecture 18, 14 October 1946
Education for Independence
Pg. 129
One of the things children love to do is walk. [] We must walk with the child and not the
child with us. This is the practical help we can give to this very important period. The child
must be able to undertake all the activities necessary for his development.
Pg. 130
We must let the child walk and notice how he walks. His legs are short in comparison to ours
and therefore he walks more slowly. Not only this, but the child explores the environment.
The attention of little children is continually being drawn to one thing or other on their walks.
They stop to observe and admire things they see. They are like explorers. This is a preparation
for the adaptation to the environment. The absorption of the environment is an intellectual
activity. It is a psychic necessity that the child explores the environment; it satisfies his
spirit.[] Having already absorbed the environment with their eyes during their first year,
now they are interested in anything that moves.

Pg. 131
[] they are very interested in seeing how things move. [] At this age, the child explores
the environment, trying some of the things he has already absorbed.

Montessori, Maria, THE SECRET OF CHILDHOOD, Fides Publishers,


1966
Part I, Ch.6 , Pg. 32-33
It is a mistake to believe that a child is muscularly weak simply because it cannot stand or
that it is naturally incapable of coordinating its movements. A newborn baby shows the
strength of its muscles in the way it moves its limbs. Sucking and swallowing are complex
operations involving a great deal of coordination of the muscles, and yet infants at birth, like
other animals, can perform these actionsThe muscles, as they grow strong, await a
command of the will to coordinate them.
Part I, Ch.6, pg. 32
That which is commonly called flesh is a complex of voluntary muscles, which, as their
name would indicate, are moved by the will. Without these muscles, so intimately
connected with mans psychic life, the will could do nothing. Without some means of
locomotion no living creature, even the lowliest insect, despite its instincts could move
about. In the higher forms of life, and particularly in man, the muscles are so numerous and
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intricate that anatomists say a student has to go at least seven times through all the muscles
before he can get to know them. These various muscles work together to carry out the most
complicated kinds of activity. Some become active, others passive, sometimes they work
together, and sometimes they work against each other.

Part I, Ch.14 Pg. 93


A child is an eager observer and is particularly attracted by the actions of the adults and
wants to imitate them. In this regard an adult can have a kind of mission. He can be an
inspiration for the childs actions, a kind of open book where a child can learn how to direct
his own movements. But an adult, if he is to afford proper guidance, must alway be calm
and act slowly so that the child who is watching him can clearly see his actions in all their
particulars.
Part I, Ch.14, Pg. 94
The important thing is thus not a great deal of movement but self-mastery. The important
thing for any individual is not that he should move anyhow and in any sense, but that he
should have gained the mastery of his motor organs. The ability to move as directed by his
own ego and not as dominated by the pure attraction of outward things, leads a child to
concentrate to one thing only, and this is phenomenon of inner origin.

Part I, Ch.15, Pg. 97


Through movement, he acts upon his external environment and thus carries out his own
personal mission in the world. Movement is not only an impression of the ego but it is an
indispensable factor in the development of consciousness, since it is the only real means
which places the ego in a clearly defined relationship with external reality. Movement, or
phisical activity, is thus an essential factor in intellectual growth, which depends upon the
impressions received from outside. Through movement we come in contact with external
reality, and it is through these contacts that we eventually acquire even abstract ideas.
Physical activity conects the spirit with the world, but the spirit has need of action in two fold
sense, to acquire concepts and to express it self exteriorly.

Part I, Ch. 12, Pg. 80


The two bodily movements most intimately connected with mans intelligence are those of
tongue, which he uses for speaking, and those of his hands, which he employs for work.

Part I, Ch. 12, Pg. 82


The first movement of his small hand toward external objects should thus be eagerly
awaited.
The first intelligent moving of these tiny hands, the first thirst of that movement which
represents the effort of the ego to penetrate the world should fill an adults mind with
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admiration. But instead he is afraid of those tiny hands stretching out for things that are of no
value and importance in themselves, and he strives to keep them from the child. He is
constantly saying dont touch! just as he constantly repeats Be still! Keep quiet!
The order to develop his mind a child must have objects in his environment which he can
hear and see. Since he must develop himself through his movements, through the work of his
hands, he has need of objects with which he can work that provide motivation for his
activity.

Montessori, Maria, THE ABSORBENT MIND, 2007, Montessori


Pierson Publishing Company
Ch. 3, Pg. 24
Movement is another of the childs great acquisitions. When newly born, he lives for months
in his cot. Yet, see him not long after, and he is walking, moving about in his world, doing
things. He busies himself and is happy. He lives only for the day, and every day he learns to
move a little bit more.

Ch. 3, Pg. 25
The movements the child acquires are not chosen haphazardly, but are fixed, in the sense that
each proceeds out of a particular period of development.

Ch. 7, pg. 66
The childs muscular inertia reminds us of Coghhills discovery that the organs are formed
after the nervous centers, in readiness for their work. Also in him, there are psychic patterns of
behavior which have to be laid down before he begins to move. Thus, the starting point of
infantile mobility is not motor, but mental.
The most important side of human development is the mental side. For mans movements
have to be organized according to guidance and dictation of his mental life. Intelligence is
what distinguishes man from the animals, and the building up of his intelligence is the first
thing to occur. Everything else waits upon this.
Ch. 7, pg. 67
By becoming mature, the motor organs offer themselves, little by little, to the commands of
the mind, and this can then make them move in indeterminate ways, so as to gain experience
in the environment. By means of these experiences, and these exercises, the childs
movements become coordinated, and finally his will can use them for its purposes.
It is always a matter of experience in action; of practice; in other words, of education. Every
person is the author of his own skills, yet the physical constitution with which he starts is the
same. It is the man himself who produces his own perfectionment.
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Ch. 7, pg. 68
Therefore, it happens that if a child is prevented from using his powers of movement as soon
as they are ready, this childs mental development is obstructed. Although mental
development has no limits, it depends in great part on being able to use its instruments of
action, on overcoming by this means the bonds of its own impotence. But all the time it is
developing on its own account.
Ch. 13, Pg. 127
One of the greatest mistakes of our day is to think of movement by itself, as something apart
from the higher functions. We think of our muscles as organs to be used only for health
purposes. We take exercise, or do gymnastics, to keep ourselves fit, to make us breathe,
or eat or sleep better.

Ch. 13, Pg. 130


To give them their right place, mans movements must be coordinated with the centre with
the brain. Not only are thought and action two parts of the same occurrence, but it is through
movement that the higher life expresses itself. To suppose otherwise is to make of mans body
a mass of muscles without a brain.

Ch. 13, Pg. 130


But in our new conception the view is taken that movement has great importance in mental
development itself, provided that the action which occurs is connected with the mental
activity going on. Both mental and spiritual growth are fostered by this, without which neither
maximum progress nor maximum health (speaking of the mind) can exist.

Ch. 13, Pg. 132


All movement thus has a most intricate and delicate machinery. But in man none of it is
established at birth. It has to be formed and perfected by the childs activity in the world.

Ch. 13, Pg. 132


The point is that, in mans case, he finds all his muscles unco-ordinated, and the nervous
arrangements for all the movements he learns have to be built up and perfected by actions
initiated by his mind. In other words, the child has an internal power to bring about coordinations, which he thus creates himself, and once these have begun to exist he goes on

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perfecting them by practice. He himself is clearly one of the principal creative factors in their
production.

Ch. 13, Pg. 132


But such versatility depends on work. They cost him the effort of much repetition, of
practicing, and in the course of this the muscles come to act in unison, because the nervous
inter-connections have an unconscious way of finding the needed harmony, given n initiative
provided by the will.

Ch. 13, Pg. 133


It is not in human nature for all men to tread the same path of development, as animals do of
a single species. Even if many people cultivate the same art, each goes about it in a slightly
different way. We see this in writing. Though we can all write, each has his own handwriting.
Every human personality has its own way of doing things.

Ch. 13, Pg. 134


It is a question of the child co-ordinating those movements which play a necessary part in his
mental life, so as to enrich the practical and executive sides of it.
Without this companionship of movement the brain develops on its own account, as if
estranges from the results of its work. Movements not directed by the mind occur
haphazardly, and do harm. But movement is so essential to the life of any individual in touch
with his surroundings and forming relationships with other people, that it must be developed
on this plane.
Its place is to serve the whole man and his life in relation to the outside world.
In short we must ever cling firmly to what may be called the philosophy of movement.
Movement is that which distinguishes the living from the non-living. Yet living things never
move at random. They go toward goals, and their lives follow natural laws.

Ch. 13, Pg. 135


Work is inseparable from movement. The life of man, and of the great human society, is
bound up with movement. So movement has a social side also; it is not just a matter of
hygiene

Ch. 14, Pg. 138


The skill of mans hand is bound up with the development of his mind, and in the light of
history we see it connected with the development of civilization. The hands of man express
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his thought, and from the time of his first appearance upon the earth traces of his handiwork
also appear in the records o history.

Ch. 14, Pg. 139


It is thanks to the hand, the companion of the mind, that civilization has arisen. The hand has
been the organ of this great gift that we inherit.
The hands, therefore, are connected with mental life.
We may put it like this: the childs intelligence can develop to a certain level without the help
of his hand. But if it develops with his hand, then the level it reaches is higher, and the childs
character is stronger. In my experience, if for special reasons a child has been unable to
use his hands, his character remains at a low stage in its formation: he is incapable of
obedience, has no initiative, and seems lazy and sad. But those children who have been able to
work with their hands make headway in their development, and reach strength of character
which is conspicuous.

Ch. 14, Pg. 141


The first sign of movement is the childs effort to grasp, or take something. Not till grasping
has occurred is the babys attention drawn to the hand which enabled him to do it. Prehension
which at first was unconscious now becomes conscious, and, as we see by watching the child,
it is his hand and not his foot which first claims his attention. Once this has happened,
grasping goes on apace, and instead of being instinctive, as it was at first, it becomes
intentional.

Ch. 14, Pg. 143


Nature seems to be telling the child You have agility and skill and now you must become
strong. Otherwise all will be useless.
And this is where the skill of the hands, and the power to keep balanced on the feet, make
common cause. Men, in fact, are not meant only to walk but also to carry burdens. The
hand which has learned to grasp must train itself to lift weights and to move them.
It is after this that the child, who can now walk and feels confident of his strength, begins to
notice the actions of those about him, and tries to do the same things. In this period he
imitates not because someone has told him to do so, but because of a deep inner need which
he feels. It is something we only perceive when the child is free. the logic of nature:
1. To give the child the upright posture.
2. To make him walk and become strong
3. To enable him to take part in the life going on about him

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Silvana Quattrocchi Montanaro, UNDERSTANDING THE HUMAN


BEING The importance of the first three years of life, 1991, Nienhuis
Montessori USA
Ch. 9, Pg. 106
It is interesting to note that the time needed for the child to attain motor abilities is similar to
newborn primates, exactly 8-9 months. Newborn primates grab the mothers skin with their
hands and remain attached in this position for several weeks while the mother moves around
freely in the environment. Our newborns are not capable of this for the simple reason that,
even though all the nerve cells are in place, the newborn of fibers linking them to the muscles
have not yet been covered by a special substance called myelin. This fatty coating is
responsible for the transmission of electrical impulses that go from the nerve cells to the
muscles without being diffused, just as electric cables need to be covered in insulating
material in order to work.
This explains why they cannot even raise their heads, but need to be supported from behind
when being lifted. Even though the movement of the eyes is not controlled initially, this is
soon achieved in a favorable environment. The coating of the nerve fibers is completed within
a period of about one year. It starts from the upper part of the body and moves downwards.
In only twelve months the child goes from an almost total lack of coordination to the most
difficult form of coordination; walking on two legs. Only human beings have accomplished
this skill, which requires a very sophisticated system of balance. The child achieves this in a
very short time. When we observe the newborns helplessness, we should at the same time
remember that, with the passing of every day, the child is improving his motor skills, despite
the many difficulties of the environment.

Ch. 9, Pg. 107


These phases are identical to those manifested among various living beings during evolution:
slithering, crawling and walking.
Somewhere between four-legged movement and the erect posture of humans comes the form
of movement used by superior mammals, the primates, which are capable of raising
themselves on their posterior limbs (but only for short periods of time).
It is specifically the opposition between the thumb and index finger that has made it possible
to execute the extremely refined movements that have produced the whole of human
culture

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