Montessori Monday 9 2013/14
Rolling a Mat
Mat rolling? That's a lesson? Isn't it just what you do before you put away your mat? Well, yes... that's the practical purpose of learning to roll a mat. But there's much more to it than that.
Working on a floor mat gives the children a concrete limit to their intellectual space. In other words, it helps children to attend and focus on a small area of space, to organize their materials and to be able to complete them and put them away without becoming overwhelmed. Whether on the floor or at a table, working on a mat helps focus the children's work and their attention.
Rolling the mat allows the child to be fully responsible for his or her work area, including defining it by the placement of the mat. When the children carry, unroll and later roll their work mat, they are defining an area in our busy classroom for their own independent pursuits. They are simultaneously building their fine motor control in their fingers, their coordination in navigating the room with a large, rolled rug in their hands, and their ability to focus their concentration. The orderly preparation of the mats before they are returned to their shelves also gives the children an opportunity to practice their own external order.
It's a little like a magic carpet: it can take you anywhere, but you have to take care of it, first.
Catherine McTamaney, Ed.D.
Christopher Academy Alumna