“A Moving Child is a Learning Child.” Indeed. Movement is at the core of how the brain develops, particularly for young children.
The role of physical education in a child’s holistic development is often overlooked. However, physical movement largely determines how children think, feel, behave and learn. It is imperative for the cognitive and social development of the child, and to an extent, for his emotional intelligence.
SMART Steps in Singapore
Recently, an activity based preschool programme has been developed by Moving Smart, brainchild of international child development expert and author, Ms. Gill Connell. It is called the SMART Steps programme. It has received a positive response from all over the world. Here are some of its salient features:
- Holistic all round development: The programme cleverly integrates early numeracy, literacy and language learning with physical play.
- Tailored for the child: SMART steps is designed to fit the child, the child is not expected to fit into the programme. It allows the little ones to develop and flourish at their own pace.
- The Kinetic Scale: This is one of the most important aspects of this programme. Its almost like a food chart, except, instead of a well balanced diet of food, we realise that children also need a well balanced diet of activities! The key components of the kinetic scale are Sensory, Balance, Intuition, Power, Co-ordination and Control. It is important to note that SMART Steps educators are personally coached and mentored by Ms. Gill Connell on what constitutes a healthy and age appropriate balance of sensory and motor activity.
Child behavioural problems addressed through SMART Steps
You will be surprised to know that many common childhood behavioural problems can be addressed through the SMART Steps programme. Here are some examples:
- The Fidgeter: This child just can’t sit still. Contrary to popular belief, fidgeting isn’t necessarily a sign of disinterest. In fact, it may well be a sign that the child is trying to concentrate. Balance activities like rolling, spinning etc in his daily “physical diet” will enhance his concentration and focus.
- The Pencil Breaker: This child breaks the lead in his pencil all the time. He may also be the kid who pushes other children or pulls too hard on the playground. This child seems aggressive, but he simply may not be aware of his own strength and the need to adjust it. He might need experience with delicate tasks that require adapting and controlling his muscles, such as pouring water without spilling, or even beating a drum using different dynamics.
- The Letter Reverser: This child writes his letters backward sometimes. This common mistake is probably not a matter of misunderstanding the letterforms. It may simply be a matter of immature midlines, which can result in misinterpreting the direction and order of things. Both lateral and cross-lateral movement patterns may be helpful.
- The Slumper: This child struggles to sit up straight for long periods of time. He looks bored, but he may just be tired. Good posture depends on core muscle strength. More whole-body movement, especially games and activities that challenge the core muscles, is probably a good idea.
SMART Steps in Singapore
Guess what, you can avail of SMART Steps in Singapore! SMART Steps is an exclusive program run by Stamford American International School and the Australian International School at The Early Learning Village, set to open in July 2017.
Mark Williams, Deputy Principal of the Stamford American International School says, “Children are often misunderstood. Their eagerness to learn sometimes comes across as naughty behaviour. SMART Steps is designed to educate the child and develop their mind and body simultaneously to create the desired learning outcomes.”
Adam Patterson, Head of Early Years at the Australian International School echoes similar sentiments, “As parents, we are delighted when our children roll over for the first time, crawl and finally walk. This development does not stop when the child takes his first steps; the skills they need to read and write are also dependent on physical movement at an early age. The SMART Steps programme is designed to develop these key movement skills in a fun and active way.”
SMART Steps at Home
Parents can also implement the SMART Steps concepts at home. There are many creative activities that can be easily tried at home, offering parents an effective way to contribute to their child’s development. For starters, you may want to visit Gill’s blog at movingsmartblog.blogspot.com.
Also READ: How important is play for your child?
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