Quotes from Dr. Maria Montessori include “Movement, or physical activity, is thus an essential factor in intellectual growth, which depends upon the impressions received from outside. Through movement we come in contact with external reality.” And, “Since it is through movement that the will realizes itself, we should assist a child in his attempts to put his will into act.” Therefore, any quality preschool program incorporates motor skills.

Gross motor skills

These skills involve movement of the large muscles in arms, legs, and torso such as running, walking, jumping, skipping, throwing, climbing and others.

The skills also include small movements of the large muscle groups such as dressing, tying shoes, buttoning, writing, drawing, cutting, throwing, catching, climbing stairs, bike riding, and more.

Why is gross motor development important?

Preschool children need strong gross motor skills in order to engage in age-appropriate physical activities and to participate in classroom activities that require body control and brain development in order to learn skills that require advanced thinking and mental dexterity. Those skills also offer exercise to the body and mind, release physical and emotional energy, and give self-esteem and confidence.

Bilateral Integration/Coordination

That refers to the ability to coordinate both sides of the body at the same time in an organized and controlled manner and is an indicator that both sides of the brain are sharing information and effectively communicating.

Crossing the Midline

The “midline” is an imaginary line that runs down the center of the body from the top of the head to the toes. Crossing the midline means instinctively reaching across your body to complete an activity such as moving one foot, hand, foot or eye into the space of the other. Examples are scratching the opposite elbow, sitting with crossed legs, reading from left to right, and similar activities.

Importance of Bilateral Integration in Reading and Writing

Successful writing is dependent upon well-developed bilateral integration together with crossing the midline. A child must learn to use one hand to control a pencil and the other hand to position the paper. Also, a child must use only one hand to write words along an entire horizontal line of the page without switching the pencil from one hand to the other at the mid-way point.

Successful reading is dependent upon the ability to cross the midline as the child’s eyes follow along an entire horizontal line of the page before then moving on to the next line.

At our Milpitas school, we recognize the importance of both fine and motor skills and do our best to incorporate both into our educational day. Contact us to schedule a tour today.