When Montessori set out to teach Montessori, she often spoke about unlearning. She was referring to the preconceived ideas or the societal
norms that where held about education or what a child should be or do and of course discipline.
This type of unlearning also applies to our idea of how children should walk, how long they can walk for or even that they don’t like walking. In fact Montessori believed that children naturally desired and enjoyed walking, but how they walk is very different from how an adult walks.
Children have no destination, instead they are led by their desire to develop their physical & intellectual being. When walking they are learning to develop, refine & perfect their movements. They also learn about balance, coordination & spacial awareness.
Unlike adults, children walk as a single whole, they do not separate the physical act from the intellectual act of walking. Children’s relationship to nature is special they absorb it readily & like to explore, discover, experiment & observe everything around them. Montessori noted that young children would often pass peacefully, walking from one discovery to the next and “In this way, he may wander for miles”(Maria Montessori)
How many times has your toddler stoped to jump into a puddle only to walk on again when there is no water left? Or stoped to clean up the fallen cherry blossoms, to inspect an insect, a bug or a worm, crunch the leaves, watch the water flowing in a stream, feel the bark of a peeling tree, pull on some hanging ivy cords to see what happens?
Do you know Montessori thought this type of activity should be part of a child’s education in early life? What better way to learn then for a child to be in amongst the learning rather then see it in a book. in fact Montessori advised that we could offer preparatory help “To explore, one needs to be filled with intellectual interests, and these it is our business to give” Maria Montessori
How else can we help?
Let us walk freely without a destination or a time frame or purpose. Let’s walk with our eyes and take in the beauty around us. Let’s walk as a single whole and discover and learn about new plants, trees,insects and animals or fungi. Let’s take a moment to sit down and watch the waves crash, listen to the wind in the trees and watch a stream flow. Let’s reconnect with nature and see it how they do.