Preparation of the Hand
As we have just recently had our Montessori Material Parent Session on Language, I thought it was a great opportunity to talk about Preparation of the Hand. Everything that we do in the Montessori classroom has a direct purpose and a lot of what we do in the Toddler Program is preparation of the hand for writing.
"He does it with his hands, by experience, first in play and then through work. The hands are the instruments of man's intelligence." (The Absorbent Mind, p. 25)
Practical life materials interest the child as there is the great reward of food, but at the same time the hands are being rewarded by new sensations and activities such as peeling, squeezing, juicing, grating, cutting, pouring, etc. Each one of these activities involves a cooperation of the hands to achieve the desired result.
Our Sensorial materials are designed to encourage the children to develop their pincer grip (amongst other things). There are many places in the classroom that encourage this particular hand placement, such as puzzles, parts of the fish, parts of the flower, cylinder blocks, pegging, posting, etc. The list is endless as repetition is the key.
The outdoor environment is another important component of preparation of the hand, where we look at different ball skills each week which help develop hand-eye coordination.