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Hands in air Hands-on Learning News

As a school dedicated to the Montessori method of educating children, MSR knows the power of hands-on learning. From 15 months to grade 12, MSR students have the opportunity to explore and manipulate materials as part of a process that deepens understanding, strengthens foundational skills, and allows for the transfer of knowledge at every developmental level.

The following excerpted blog from the Age of Montessori website reminds us of the critical importance of hands-on learning for children of all ages.

The Power of Hands-On Learning

What the hand does, the mind remembers. - Dr. Montessori

If a child is able to use their hands to discover, their discoveries become more meaningful to them. The concepts they learn are much more rooted than any rote memorization could be, because in using their hands, they experience their learning. They are an active participant.

... If you ever have the opportunity to observe someone learning a new skill, I would challenge you to watch their hands. It is through touching and manipulating that information is taken in through the hands and delivered to the brain.

Use Your Hands!

Adults seem to think that it is okay for younger children to work with their hands when they are learning. Think about it: Sandboxes, water tables, Play-Doh! But somewhere along the way these manipulatives get a bad rap for being “childish.”

Why? If you’ve ever seen someone participate in an activity they love, you’ve very likely seen them using their hands! You’ve likely witnessed someone building with tools, fixing up a vehicle, or playing an instrument. How about someone turning the page of a book, digging in the dirt while gardening, or making food?

Why should learning through math, science, history or languages be any different? Utilize an abacus for addition, measure velocity when launching a marshmallow with a spoon, tea-dye a map, or handle pairs of objects that rhyme. Whether formal or informal education, using your hands helps!

In the Montessori Classroom

Dr. Maria Montessori was a scientist who spent time observing children. In doing so, she realized that children wanted real-world, hands-on application for learning. Not only did they want it, they experienced joy in using their hands.

Through experimentation and careful calculation, Montessori developed materials for children to use. These lessons intentionally foster self-discovery and serve learning goals. Over 100 years later, the observations she made then still hold true. Regardless of subject matter, children enjoy, and benefit from, using their hands to learn.

In a Montessori classroom you will see hands-on learning EVERYWHERE! A child washing a table is learning care of their environment while also preparing their hand muscles for similar movements in writing. Placing cubes on top of one another in the pink tower allows children to learn precision of movement while also allowing their body to experience, physically, the difference in 1 cubic centimeter ten times over! Not only this, but it is also teaching the basics of the mathematics base ten system. Rarely is a lesson in a Montessori classroom taught for one purpose only, and usually, with time, the hands-on learning leads to multiple objectives.

A Personalized Journey

Learning is not a race with a finish line. It’s a constant stroll through a variety of experiences that all necessitate different paths and use different materials. ...


Published with permission from Age of Montessori. Click here to read the complete Power of Hands-On Learning blog. More about Age of Montessori, a Montessori teacher-training organization, can be found here.