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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The first of the senses to develop is the sense of balance. It is vital for posture, movement, and a sense of “center” in space, time, motion, depth, and self. All other sensations pass through the balance mechanism (vestibular system) at brain stem level before it is passed on to its specialized region higher in the brain. Hence, all the other senses are linked to balance. To the newborn, perception and motion are the same thing. He is not aware that sound and movement, vision and touch are separate sensations, as for him they all fuse together as a single experience. Thus motion is the child’s first language and the more eloquent he becomes in his primary language, the quicker he will develop other powers of expression, exploration, and development.

The infant begins with constant repetition of arm and leg movement, moving muscles and training hand/eye coordination. The child who rolls back and forth across the floor with no particular goal in sight is preparing her balance for sitting, standing, and eventually walking. The preschooler who constantly hops, skips, and twirls while “walking” down the street is still learning to control her balance. The most advanced level of balance is the ability to stay still. The child who cannot stay still instinctively knows that her balance still needs practice. The child who cannot stay on the sidewalk if there is a low wall running alongside it but who must climb from one level to another and back again is still teaching herself muscle control, depth perception, and visual motor integration skills. Somersaults and cartwheels further facilitate the separation of motion from other sensations, for it is only when a child has control of movement that she can pay attention to other experiences. Hyperactivity may be a sign of continuing need to refine vestibular function. It has been shown that active children who are allowed to spin for 30 seconds in either direction show increased attention span for up to 30 minutes afterwards, suggesting that they need vestibular stimulation to “get their brain into gear”.

Our eyes operate from the vestibular circuit in the brain. Our ears share the same cranial nerve and the sense of touch is integrally linked to the vestibular through the movement across hair cells whose receptors are located in the dermis of the skin. If motion is a child’s first language, then sensation is his second. Only when both motion and sensation are integrated can the higher language skills of speech, reading, and writing develop fluently. Our children who roll and tumble are engaged in their first lessons toward becoming fully functioning adults.