This article briefly describes the process of the development of movements in a child and its implications on the personality of the child. The Philosophy of Movement
The world of Man cannot be imagined without movement. Life is indicated by movement. In animal/bird/fish life we can realise that immobility is impossible. Even those classified as immovable (plant life) manifest their life by movement.
The human kingdom isolates itself from other non-human living beings by their capacity to work which is possible only by directed movements. There is movement in every area of human work-personal care, care of the environment, social behaviour, intellectual work etc. When we consider the Child as part of the human family we need to consider the importance of movement in his Life and Development.
Movement in the human body
In the general development of the human being we can see the role of the brain, the senses and the muscles. Among these the muscles are the ones which execute the movements. These movements can be considered as voluntary when they are controlled by the brain. This control is made possible by the senses feeding the brain or intelligence with the right messages. When these capacities work in co-operation, the last stage remains with the muscles which make the movements. 'Movement thus becomes the last part that completes the cycle of thought' says Dr. Montessori. This co-ordination creates the unique characteristic of Man namely WORK possible.
Movement is a mode of human expression. Animals too express themselves by their movements. Dr. Montessori asks "Can we ignore this fact in Man?" Movement becomes a system of healthy relationship with Man's environment (establish, maintain and restore conditions). We see the importance of movement without which no expression is possible(sign language, body language, writing, etc).
Man's aspiration at the highest level is that of spiritual perfection. Dr. Montessori asks "Is that enough? Can Man be selfish? Does he not circulate his experiences and thereby express them?" Movement should occupy the place of a servant of the whole life and the spiritual economy of the world.
Mental life and development depends very heavily on senses--development of speech on hearing and observation and understanding depends on the sight. This co-ordination of the brain and the senses has to be made in the very beginning. Then and only then can there be any human expression.
Dr. Montessori says "Here is a very good reason why Nature keeps the human being very immobile during infancy; when the co-ordination starts Nature gives the human being the facility for locomotion".
In a child we see movement/work as a manifestation of the development of the mind. While he acts on the direction of the intelligence there is an extension in the understanding. Scientific observation shows that intelligence is developed through movement; movement helps psychic development. Again Movement has a great contribution to offer in the conquest of language which is one of the most fundamental conquests to be made by the psyche of the child.
When the child performs work it becomes a co-ordination of the brain, senses and muscles. In Man, the mechanism of grace is not evident at birth but has to be created by physical experiences working at the environment, done with co-ordination. None of this co-ordination is established at birth. But there is a wide possibility of movements. The variety of movements is immense-massive to minute (ballerina--gymnast). Dr. Montessori calls it 'harmonised opposition'. The child is endowed with the capacity or potentiality to co-ordinate these movements. Man has a great diversity in skill in action but must create it by will, subconsciously or voluntarily. The combination of the brain, the senses, and the muscles in collaboration with emotional and social development can lead one to what we...