Saturday, November 3, 2012

Walking the Line

In the level 1 atrium, we have a material called the line.

Without getting into all the Montessori principles behind it, or the whys and hows and details and extensions, let me just say that this line is CRUCIAL to a child's development. Period.

What children do you know that DON'T seek out lines to walk in - balance beams, parking bump things, cracks in the sidewalks, curbs, garden edging, stone walls - you name it, kids walk it!

The line in the level 1 atrium 
Montessori observed this and utilized it to its maximum potential.

I once had a young man, kindergarten. He had a wonderfully responsive school teacher and a wonderfully set up (non-Montessori) classroom, but he just wasn't settling in. His needs were being met, yet something was still amiss - and they were considering testing for ADHD. He came with his classmates to a level 1 atrium for 45 minutes once a week.

I introduced the walking on the line and it set off a spiral of events that allowed this child to do seriously productive work in that short span of time in the atrium. His regular teacher brought in a make-shift line for use in her classroom and it worked WONDERS. If he could just whip around that line a few times, of his own accord, he could then SIT and WORK for 5 minutes at a time! (the first time he sat for 30 seconds at a time we thought a miracle had occurred!).

The line in our Montessori co-op for ages 3-10
In one of my level 2 sacramental preparations sessions, with children who were not in atrium for their regular faith formation (only for sacramental preparation - in fact, the children I am about to describe are my 6th graders this year :) ) --- I had the children come into the level 1 atrium space where we had the Good Shepherd material. I brought them into the level 1 because I also wanted them to walk on the line.

In the process of walking on the line, they centered themselves, refocusing; peace was brought to their internal selves and even Abbot and Costello found some level of quietude (more on these two another day - I have one of them now again, but I am missing the other...).

I rang the bell to pause walking and to gather around the Good Shepherd material. As I began the presentation, you could have heard a pin drop onto the carpeted floor.

I firmly believe it was a combination of the line and the presentation itself.

There are so many benefits to walking on the line - the only one that matters is inner peace.

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