“He does it with his hands, by experience, first in play and then through work. The hands are the instruments of man’s intelligence. “ — Maria Montessori

As parents, milestone expectations are common concerns as children grow and develop. Within a relatively short time, helpless newborns gain control of their bodies and movements. Before long, they are grasping, pulling, rolling, crawling and walking. Meanwhile, these changes happen right before our eyes. Unfortunately, we often miss the day-to-day subtleties of their development.

Throughout these developmental stages, one of the child’s greatest teachers is the hand. The hand acts as an instrument which facilitates an accumulation of knowledge. With that in mind, you might begin to observe your child’s busy hand throughout the day in a new light. Through touch, the hand transmits an experience to the little one’s brain. While the hand is engaged, neurons and synapses are wiring rapidly* and information is recorded. “Oh, that’s how that feels…” With that, a concrete experience has been logged, a data point noted and a neural pathway strengthened.

By design, a Montessori-inspired and prepared environment encourages the child to move and explore. First, activities, toys and materials are available based on the their ages and abilities. Once engaged in play, the impressions made through hands-on exploration leaves an imprint which will be lasting. These imprints become the child’s reference points for continued learning and discovery.

*http://www.urbanchildinstitute.org/why-0-3/baby-and-brain

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