Friday, July 24, 2009

Labyrinths in School

Montessori teachers incorporate labyrinths into the curriculum for many reasons. Children can walk the labyrinth to calm themselves down, to resolve conflicts, or even to grieve the loss of a pet or loved one. Adults who walk a labyrinth say it is possible to lose the sense of space and time and be fully present in the moment. Ancient labyrinths have been found dating back to 18,000 BC in Egypt, Peru, India, Scandinavia and the British Isles.

I incorporate this philosophy into the classroom by using this hand held Cretan labyrinth from Montessori Services. I've recommended this activity to parents to put in a quiet part of the house. When the child starts acting up or needs some redirection, some quiet time with the labyrinth usually does the trick.

Many of you know that I'm looking to expand the school within the next couple of years. Wouldn't this outdoor labyrinth be an amazing addition to the new environment? I envision a small stool for children to take their shoes off and maybe a brush to wipe their feet after they've completed the walk. I love the child in the back raking the sand, almost like a Japanese Rock Garden. This teacher did a fantastic job creating this work of art herself with found materials.

You can incorporate a labyrinth into your home environment by using rocks as shown above, or with chalk in a driveway. Making labyrinths in the snow is fun or try it at night with candles!

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