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” When mental development is under discussion, there are many who say, “How does movement come into it? We are talking about the mind.” And when we think of intellectual activity, we always imagine people sitting still, motionless. But mental development must be connected with movement and be dependent on it. It is vital that educational theory and practice should be informed by this idea.”
- Maria Montessori
Longmeadow Montessori Internationale (LMI) is committed to making a difference. The school has instituted a number of changes to reduce its environmental impact while teaching its students about the importance of taking care of the Earth. Changes include using cloth napkins and reusable plastic cups at snack time, installing energy-saving light bulbs, and even composting the students’ food scraps into healthy, fertile soil to be used by the students who care for the LMI gardens in the spring and fall.
The students are also learning about the importance of nourishing their bodies with healthy foods. They regularly discuss healthful eating at school, and enjoy nutritious snacks during snack time. And thanks to generous donations by LMI families, the students enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables, and organic milk from grass-fed cows, delivered weekly.
Snack Twice a Day Surpasses EEC Recommendations
Thanks to generous donations by LMI families, the students enjoy fresh (and when possible, organic) fruits and vegetables, whole grain bread and crackers, cheese, hummus, yogurt and so much more. LMI promotes healthy snacks each day in both the morning and afternoon knowing the importance of fueling young bodies with nutrients.
The students learn about the importance of nourishing their bodies with healthy foods during their school day. In addition to enjoying nutritious snacks at snack time, they regularly discuss healthful eating at school. Many games, puzzles and lessons teach the importance of good food in a fun and interactive manner.
Physical Fitness and Motor Development, Both Structured and Unstructured, are the
Building Blocks of Intellectual Development and Success at School
As Montessori teachers, our job is to attend to the development of the child and provide opportunities for self-construction. The exercises and materials in a Montessori classroom provide opportunities needed to develop order, coordination, concentration and independence.
We believe that, over time, each child will develop self-control and positive behaviors, shaped through repetition of lessons. It is our expectation that these experiences and opportunities for exploration will benefit every child. LMI students participate in structured physical activity that has a specific purpose. These activities are designed for a group of children and are planned and led by teachers. Structured physical activities have clear goals for physical development as well as supporting children’s learning of academic and social concepts. They give children repeated practice in fundamental movement skills, encourage positive peaceful play and improve children’s physical fitness. In contrast to structured physical activities, unstructured physical activities include children’s participation in free play, without direction. LMI students engage in free play each day. Teachers oversee imaginative play with attention to safety and peaceful resolution of conflict. They encourage and stretch active play but do not lead the children’s play. Unstructured activities offer children opportunities to use their imaginations and to control and adjust their play choices with proximate adult supervision. The opportunity for unstructured physical activity is just as important as structured physical activities for children’s development.
Physical Play at Recess Each Morning and Afternoon and Throughout the Day
When weather permits, children utilize three separate and unique play areas for gross motor development, cooperation and imagination: the driveway, the courtyard, and the Center School playground. What do the children do when at each area? . . . Here are some examples:
Gardening, tricycles, strollers, hopscotch, basketball, digging/physics tubes, jump ropes, jumping ladder, circus equipment
Parachute, obstacle course, water play, throw and catch, soccer, streaming ribbon, hula hoops, draw with chalk
Center School Playground Recess
Experience different slides, climb the jungle gym, crawl through a tunnel, cross monkey bars, slide down the fire pole, and running games
Inclement weather is the time for fun in Bailey Hall and creative classroom activities.
Fitness is Fun with Westfield State University Students
We are so fortunate and pleased to be working with Westfield State University’s Movement Science Department and their students. WSU students spend time in both the Fall and Spring engaging our LMI students in a variety of fun and beneficial gross motor activities.
Parent workshops are presented throughout the year and are free for all LMI families.Topics from past sessions which focused around physical fitness have included:
- Pediatric Occupational Therapist talked about the foundations necessary for successful fine motor coordination, as well as strategies that enhance fine motor skills and are keys to success at school and at home.
- Brain Development Specialist spoke to the direct relationship of proper motor strength and maximum brain development and the effects of both on learning.
- Founder and Director of Heartsong Yoga presented about yoga poses, and activities that can be done at home with children to help behavior management and enhance focus, concentration, creativity, and communication.
In conclusion, most 2- to 6-year old children are in the fundamental movement phase of motor development. They are also in the “sensitive period” for movement. Through movement practice, the child further develops order, concentration, coordination, and independence. At LMI, we encourage both structured and unstructured physical activity throughout the day…not just at recess.
Environmental Awareness & Healthy Living
Locate important school documents here.
Longmeadow Montessori Internationale 777 Longmeadow Street
Longmeadow, MA 01106
School Office: (413) 567-1820
Business Office: (413) 567-1880