Greystone House Montessori Schools Houston, Texas. Child care Montessori provider in Champions, The Woodlands, Spring Texas Greystone House Montessori Schools Houston
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As a part of our enrichment curriculum, the children learn about their senses, but there is another sense that is really important to how we maneuver in our world. It’s the sense of where our body is in space, and it’s called proprioception. Just as our eyes and ears send information about what we see and hear, our muscles and joints sense the position of our body and send these messages to the brain as well. We depend on this information to know where our body parts are and to plan our movements. When our proprioceptive sense works well, we make continual, automatic adjustments on our position. This helps us to stay in an optimal position in a chair, to judge how to maneuver through space so that we don’t run into things, and to plan how much pressure to exert so we don’t break a pencil lead or a toy.

Since proprioception helps us with such basic functions, a problem in this system can cause a great deal of trouble. What often happens is the child has to pay attention to things that should happen automatically. He may have to use vision to compensate and “figure out” how to make adjustments. This can take a lot of energy. The child may feel clumsy, frustrated, and even fearful in some situations. For example, it may be very scary to walk down stairs if you’re not sure where your feet are. In fact, this is a natural function and one that fun activities can improve. Some things you can do are:

• Have your child help with “heavy” work, like bringing in groceries, carrying the laundry basket, and pulling weeds.

• Play “backpacking” and place bags of beans or rice in a child-sized backpack. Pretend to be climbing mountains and jumping off rocks at the park or in the backyard. Or really go backpacking.

• Make “sandwiches” with your child between cushions or between two people. Add gentle pressure as you add ingredients. A “hug” sandwich is a lot of fun.

• Play games with your eyes shut. Can your child touch her nose or make a big X with her eyes shut?

• Give extra proprioceptive input when your child is learning a new skill. For example, make shapes in sand or playdough, place your hands on your child’s shoulders as he skates or goes up or down stairs.

• Massage not only gives good proprioceptive input, but it is also a wonderfully calming activity for both parties. Make this natural thing an enjoyable thing, too.