Physical Development in a Montessori Preschool

Unlike traditional preschools, a Montessori preschool focuses on developing every aspect of the whole child. This includes a child’s physical development. From the enhancement of hand-eye coordination and sensorial abilities to the development of gross and fine motor skills, a Montessori preschool will make sure that each child develops the skills they will need to gain a sense of order and independence.

Fine Motor Skills and Hand-Eye Coordination

In the Montessori preschool classroom, children participate in practical life activities, which are known to improve a child’s fine motor skills (coordinated small muscle movements in the hands, wrists, and fingers) and hand-eye coordination (the use of the eyes to guide movements). Actions, like grasping, reaching and releasing an object, and turning the wrist, are the types of fine motor movements that children learn in a Montessori preschool, in order to prepare them for the daily tasks of life. Fine motor development begins almost right away in babies, as they use their reflexes to grasp a rattle or your finger.

As children grow, they will be able to engage in sewing and weaving activities, which develop their manual dexterity. The action of picking up objects with small tongs or tweezers develops a child’s pincer grip, which is a necessary precursor for learning how to write later on.

Gross Motor Skills

To develop the large muscles of the body, it’s important to reach gross motor milestones – such as walking, running, jumping and climbing. Montessori preschools recognize how gross motor development presents many health benefits, boosts confidence and self-esteem, and the ability to assess risk. That’s why Montessori preschools provide many activities that build muscle memory, creative movement, and motor planning.

Sensorial Development

In a Montessori preschool, one of the main focuses of the curriculum is on refining all of the child’s senses including visual, tactile, thermic, auditory, baric, stereognostic, olfactory and gustatory. The purpose of this is for the child to gain a sense of order by making clear and conscious classifications of her environment through the senses.

For example, children learn to sort tablets by slight differences in color and shade, which is done in order to sharpen their visual perception and sense of order. They also learn to sort fabrics by touch, thus enhancing the child’s tactile sense.

Physical Development at MASS

At Montessori Academy at Sharon Springs, we provide a beautiful preschool environment filled with practical life materials to develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. We encourage the exploration of the senses through music and movement accompanied by freedom of choice. Our toddlers and primary children have the opportunity to jump around, balance, crawl, and skip to enhance gross motor skills. Our primary students engage in many sensorial activities in order to begin understanding the world around them during these formative years.

Montessori vs. Daycare

Montessori vs. Daycare

When comparing child care options for your child, you may have some questions about the differences between a Montessori preschool and a traditional daycare. Every classroom is unique, even within the same educational system. However, there are some major differences between Montessori and traditional systems.


In a traditional daycare system, a child usually stays in the facility until they turn five years old and can then enter kindergarten, where they begin to really focus on important concepts such as reading, writing, and mathematics. In a Montessori education system, children will begin their academic career at around age three. This means that children in Montessori schools have an additional two years to learn and develop the skills necessary for them to do well in school later in life. Montessori children usually remain with the same teacher for multiple years. This extended period of time allows them to bond with their teacher and gives the teacher the ability to develop and implement an individualized teaching plan for each child in their classroom.


Traditional daycares focus on structure, and the caretakers are the ones who determine the activities that all of the kids do each day. Montessori classrooms, however, allow for flexibility when it comes to the individual needs of a child. There is an emphasis on each child being able to work and move at their own pace, learn freely through activities, and collaborate with others. If a child wants to work on one activity for an extended period of time, the child has that option. This gives each child the opportunity to learn at their own pace until they fully understand a topic.

Holistic Approach:

The primary goal of a daycare is to introduce basic educational topics and entertain a child while her parents are at work. Montessori preschools, however, work to develop a well-rounded, well-educated, and successful individual. Montessori students develop social skills through life habits and learning principles taught early-on, as well as through collaboration and group work. Older students are commonly given the opportunity to mentor younger students, which teaches cooperation, altruism, and leadership.


Traditional daycares usually rely on instructor-directed discipline to function, but in Montessori education, children are free to move around the classroom, exploring and learning through a variety of activities. This freedom allows children to learn through interaction in their stimulating environment. As children grow older, this emphasis helps develop a deep love of learning, instead of the repetitive memorization of facts and concepts.

As they grow and mature, every child will learn differently and be shaped by their educational experiences. Choosing a Montessori school for your child will no doubt be beneficial for both their development and their future.