Moving with my Kindies

Well folks, I took the plunge and moved to a new school and a new grade!!! I have taught every level from grade 1 to grade 8, so I thought it was time to venture into Kindie land! I am teaching a Junior/Senior combined Kindergarten class  – and I love it! At first it was a little scary; am I going to survive those little ankle biters? Well, I am happy to announce not one little Kindie friend I teach has tried to bite my ankles! 
 
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: 
 
 

Mireya: No concept of what a letter is. Her writing is scribbles. Her picture of mom in bottom right corner is a circle for her mom. She has no sense of drawing body, arms or even legs, just the head. Movement ability: Has challenges clapping to play patty cake, and finds it very challenging to catch a ball. Gross motor delays. Unable to cross the midline of her body.

 

Cheyenne spells her name across the top of the page with little circles representing her name. She has a backwards E and lines. This picture of herself does include a head, body and 2 arms and 2 legs. Notice greater connection with having letters on the page and presence of a body that connects. Movement Ability: Very timid with clapping games and lifting same arm and leg up at the same time without falling over. Unable to cross the midline of her body.

 

Abbey had correct letters written for her name. She has a recognizable body, with arms and legs. She even has a face. Movement Ability: Always bumping into people; no sense of personal space. Can clap with a partner to play patty cake. Unable to cross the midline of her body.

 

Max has recognizable letters to spell his name. He drew people with a head and body and little feet. He has hair on each person and 2 eyes and sometimes a mouth. His body parts are connected. He is unable to cross the midline of his body.

 

Rehan: Recognizable letters to spell his name, even correct upper and lower case. He has a head, body (with some idea of proportion), arms, legs, and hair. It is obvious they are playing soccer. He is able to do cross-crawls, and has a sense of the midline of his body.


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!
 
Cheers,
Liz Jones-Twomey

2 comments

  • Katy Held

    Katy Held Ann Arbor, Michigan

    Hi Liz, Congrats on your new adventure!!! I love seeing the pictures of the kiddos, and look forward to updates as the year progresses!! Wishing you continued joy and success with these wonderful people! Katy

    Hi Liz,
    Congrats on your new adventure!!! I love seeing the pictures of the kiddos, and look forward to updates as the year progresses!!
    Wishing you continued joy and success with these wonderful people!
    Katy

  • Liz Jones-Twomey

    Liz Jones-Twomey Kitchener, ON

    HI Katy, It truly is an adventure! I already see growth in the past few months. I will get new photos and talk about the improvements in sitting positions. and I believe a correlation with their drawings. I am really conscious not to let the kids sit in the "w" position, with both knees touching and legs going out the side. I reinforce " Sit criss-cross applesauce" to get their legs crossing properly in a cross lateral position. They teach me the wonders of the world each day!! Have a terrific day! Cheers Liz JT

    HI Katy,
    It truly is an adventure! I already see growth in the past few months. I will get new photos and talk about the improvements in sitting positions. and I believe a correlation with their drawings. I am really conscious not to let the kids sit in the "w" position, with both knees touching and legs going out the side. I reinforce " Sit criss-cross applesauce" to get their legs crossing properly in a cross lateral position. They teach me the wonders of the world each day!!
    Have a terrific day!
    Cheers
    Liz JT

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