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January 26, 2018

The Need To Throw -- Montessori Young Toddler Week 8

Young toddlers are busy. Busy, busy. They have things to explore, things to do, things to see. They have a drive to move. And, this movement is not without purpose. Movement is the vehicle by which they learn. Movement is king. Movement is more important than still. Movement is vital. 

Montessori toddlers and throwing - recognizing and dealing with the need to throw

Maria Montessori said, "this is the new education of movement, and in a child's home life the same principles should apply...the child whose life at home is strictly ordered according to the convenience of grown-ups without knowledge or consideration of the natural movement and active interest of childhood is in the worst possible state of mind and body, either for obedience or good manners." These are harsh words for parents, but a good reminder. Montessori is not all about little trays and shelf work -- especially for toddlers. It's about letting children follow their natural desires to perfect their inner being. And, that cannot happen without a lot of movement. 
"A child is a discoverer. He is an amorphous, splendid being in search of his own proper form." Maria Montessori 

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The problem is that movement can be inconvenient. -- to adults Which brings me to Gus. Gus has discovered throwing. Most young toddlers do at some point and they love it! And, it makes total sense. It's hard work, it's fun, it's whole body movement, it's maximum effort! Plus, there's often a great consequence -- something bangs, or breaks, or bounces. It becomes a need. Something they have to do. We just can't fight it. 

But, there are just some things that they can't throw! They can't throw breakables, or at others. How do you curb this need and give young toddlers a throwing outlet?  

The answer for our family is redirect and opportunities! When I see that Augustus is going to throw, I can gently redirect. "You want to throw! Let's find a ball! We throw balls." And then we immediately find an appropriate object to throw. If he ends up throwing something that I would rather he not throw, I don't make a big fuss, I just immediately redirect. It's not a redirect in 5 minutes, or even in 2, it's drop what I'm doing and redirect. Overtime, he will understand, that balls are for throwing and he can throw a ball. 

Then, I make sure we are offering plenty of opportunities for him to exert this need in a positive way. Right, now we can't get outside much and so that means we throw in the house. We always have a basket of balls near by. Big balls, small balls, soft balls, hard balls. Rainbow balls. It's available. And, it's used. If we give him opportunities to throw, that need and desire to throw other things, is lessened. 

If your toddler is throwing remember that he/she is not being difficult or unnecessarily testing limits. Your child is exerting a need, a vital and important, need. Respect it. And find a way to make it work for both of you! 

Montessori toddlers and throwing - recognizing and dealing with the need to throw

Does your toddler like to throw? How do you make it work for your family? 


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Jennifer Lingle, Director of Autism Educates
Our 15-month-old loves throwing a ball for our pups. We encourage it all the time! It tires them all out!
Caroline said…
My second child loves to throw and we have baskets of balls available in every room and this works beautifully. My struggle is with climbing. I want to encourage freedom of movement and feel that I have toddler-proofed the house fairly well but there are just some thing up high in cabinets and on counters that just can’t be avoided. We have stools everywhere for our 3.5 year old that we allow the one year old to climb when we’re watching but even if I’m standing next to him washing potatoes he can be on the counter or a table in a second before I realize he’s there. We built a pikler triangle for him for Christmas and if I really need to accomplish something I put the stools away and try to direct him to the triangle. He likes the triangle but he doesn’t engage long... instead he finds chairs that he push over to tables and off-limits surfaces and climbs on... any advice on how to handle this conundrum? I would like to be able to multi-task without putting him in a play pen as has been suggested by some of my non-Montessori friends. Thank you in advance!