Both of my daughters have moved away to university, and I miss them terribly. It is kind of nice to have these little adorable children to spend my days with. They have such a pure passion for learning. There is something magical and fulfilling to see these young fresh little faces eager to learn and so inquisitive each day.
I have done so much research on early developmental movement patterns, reflexes that need to be integrated, and classroom management. I thought: I need to live it all in the kindergarten class. I need to watch it all unfold and see how I can help these little people so they don’t have to struggle with life. They are eating up all I have to offer and with such enthusiasm!!! It is so rewarding. I wish I had done this years ago.
My friends who know me as a Junior teacher can’t believe I am teaching Kindergarten! The learning curve is steep, but so fulfilling.
My first discovery was the connection between the children’s ability to draw their bodies and their movement ability. Those children who could draw a body with a head on top and arms coming out of their torso – instead of arms coming out of their head – had good movement ability. They could clap hands and play patty cake. They were capable of some degree of letter formation. They could follow the movements to our song “Wiggle Jiggle.” What was incredibly interesting was that my children who were new to the country and couldn’t speak English, but could draw an accurate representation of their body, could follow the movements to the songs!
Those children who had no concept of their bodies could not draw a person with arms connected to the body or with a body under their head. These children drew their names in circles or lines; they had no concept of letters at all. What was interesting in their movement was that they had little sense of their body. Some children had a challenge clapping hands to play patty cake.
They had to think about how to bring their hands together to clap. They had little sense of the midline of their body. The midline of the body is an imaginary line that runs down the body, separating it in half vertically from head to toe, thus dividing the body into right and left halves (see my earlier post about Homolateral Movement Patterns). When you clap both hands together, you are bringing each side of the body together to join at the midline of the body.
Here are some examples of drawings from my class:
When we wrote the song “Catch a Brain Wave,” the intent was to give children a sense of each of their limbs and how they are all connected. The idea grew from having the children work with partners while lying down and rolling a ball over the limbs (based on Carol Anne Erickson’s Navel Radiation patterns, Movement Exploration series 1).
It’s fun to watch the children roll a ball over each other. I have one child lay down and the other child rolls the ball down one arm, then the other arm; one leg, then the other leg; left side of the body, right side of the body; then contralateral movement rolling down left leg then right arm; then down right leg and down left arm; then up and down the spine from tailbone to head, then head to feet.
This is a great activity that I hope you enjoy doing with your child or the children you work with. I would love to hear from you as to how this activity went.
Until next time!