Here at Village Montessori Day School in Manalapan New Jersey, we believe in the significance of purposeful physical activities in a child’s development. These exercises enable children to run, walk, jump, throw, climb, hop, as such. Indoor and outdoor gross motor activities are movements that help build children’s upper body strength and large muscle control in arms, legs and the entire body as well as their balance and coordination. In addition, physical activities encourage socialization among peers, in which it fosters confidence and self-esteem.
According to the study on Evidence Based Physical Activity for School-age Youth by: Strong, Malina, Blimkie & Daniels, The Journal of Pediatrics, “School-age youth should participate daily in 60 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity that is developmentally appropriate, enjoyable, and involves a variety of activities.”
Maria Montessori believed that physical competence is fundamental to intellectual transformation during early childhood. As she stated that, “For learning to reach its full potential, it must be directly connected to physical movement for the young child.” (Montessori (1967). This integration of mental and physical activity is constantly happening in our Montessori classrooms. When the gross and fine motor skills are directly applied to the lesson being learned, children can understand concepts more completely and quickly. For example, Montessori didactic material called the Pink Tower, which comes in set of ten pink cubes of different sizes, are designed to be arranged from the largest to the smallest cube. As children practice this physical task, they learn about sequencing and patterning which are skills needed in building concepts in mathematical and other academic areas.
Overall, enriched motor activities lead to the improvement of children’s physical, psychological and social skills.