What do walking, dancing and making silence all have in common? Movement. They are different forms of movement in our classroom. If you ever hear about a Montessori line time it always implies movement, and while occasionally we do some group lessons on “the line” the primary purpose is always for the development of movement.
Maria Montessori observed in her travels around the world an activity universal to all young children, they seemed to always find some line to walk on to practice balancing, like walking along a log. She observed this satisfies the children’s need to develop their equilibrium and perfect their balance. She brought this line into the classroom.
On our floor we have a line made with tape around our rug. Everyday when it is time to clean up and get ready to go outside we play the same piece of music for the kids to walk on the line around the rug. It is a slow, melodic, and calming rhythm. This seems simple to us adults but it is not for young children, and with children spending more and more time in front of screens and being more sedentary than past generations, it is evermore important to aid in the development of this skill. When we go for a walk with our children it builds coordination and stamina, all the things necessary to move on to academic work. Next, we might play a game or dance on the line. They love to dance with their friends and this develops awareness for the other person and the need to take cues from that person to move well.
Lastly, we practice making silence. Silence is when we sit with our legs crossed, hands and on our knees, back straight, turn off our voice, close our eyes and practice making silence. As the word making implies this is an active process. This is an internal movement of the child's spirit on all of their senses, and it requires the highest work of self control and coordination. As a class we attempt to incrementally increase the length of time we can all make silence. When we are finished we might ask the children what sounds they could hear around them.
It is good to get out with your kids and just go for a walk. We take the kids for a nature walk, which is simply just taking a walk around the neighborhood and observing the things around us; a tree, an ant, the clouds, or an airplane in the sky. Take a meandering walk with your kids, do nothing and find some time to make silence with them.
Credit to @ Tara Lopez.