Master Junior Level teacher and Movement Integration Specialist Melani Fuchs began her professional life as a physical educator. She brought her love of movement with her when she became a Montessori teacher and over the years pursued training in various aspects of motor development. Melani then began the painstaking work of marrying these practices with the Montessori Method. The end result is a movement curriculum for young children that is detailed in her book, Movement Matters: A Movement Album for Montessori Early Childhood Programs.
Dr. Montessori’s philosophy has movement and purposeful activity at its core. Montessori emphasizes that it is through movement that the child absorbs knowledge. Children need to move about the classroom, and to touch and manipulate what they see in order to fully integrate the meaning and significance of their work. We believe that children also need to practice movement for movement’s sake by using gross motor materials that support coordination, core strength and overall body control.
In the hallways of EAC, children are often seen practicing gross motor activities. They walk around the main building balancing on Wooden Stilt Blocks. The hanging Easy Ball provides children the opportunity to practice eye-hand coordination while pushing and catching the ball. Children throw rolled socks at targets taped to the door. They push paper plates across the floor, stand and balance on balance boards, hop and jump on dots spread across the floor, and practice locomotor movements while traveling between two parallel ropes. In addition, children can be seen practicing yoga, peaceful touch, and Brain Gym.
With Melani’s guidance our belief in the importance of purposeful movement practice has become a hallmark of The Elizabeth Ann Clune Montessori School of Ithaca.