“Promoting Early Brain & MotorDevelopment through Movement” January 7, 2012 Terri Lorentz MA Early Childhood Special Education Teacher/Educational Speech Clinician
Learner Objectives • Participants will review research that supports that to achieve the precision of the mature brain, stimulation in the form of movement and sensory experience during the early years is essential. • Participant will review a variety of sensory motor ideas to assist in creating as nurturing early childhood environment.
“Rich environments produce rich brains” & an essential agent in this process is movement activity. (Begley, 1997; Nash, 1997)
New Prospectives • Researchers believed that the wiring of the brain was primarily “programmed” by one’s genetic blue print. • Researchers now believe the main circuits are prewired, but other pathways contain trillions of “un-programmed” connections.
Researchers believe that to achieve a mature brain, stimulation in the form of movement and sensory experiences is necessary. (Greenough & Black, 1992; Shatz, 1992)
Implications for Early Educators • Identification of critical periods or “Windows of Opportunity.” • Motor control • Vision • Language • Feelings • Etc.
Windows for Motor Development • Posture & coordination – forge first two years. • Fine Motor skills – Open from shortly after birth to about age nine. • Gross Motor skills – Open from prenatal to around age five.
Movement experiences should be introduced early in life and during the windows of opportunity. • Motor skills enhance our lives at all ages and a positive attitude about habitual physical activity sets the foundation for a lifetime of good health.
What can we do • Provide children with lots of sensory-motor experiences, especially of the visual motor variety. This includes activities that integrate visual information with fine and gross motor movements.
Include a variety of basic gross motor activities that involve postural control, coordination of movements, and locomotion – crawling, creeping, body rolling, and jumping.
Combine movement and music. • The combination of music and movement presents an excellent learning medium for young children.
Physical Activity guidelines for Infants (birth-12 months) (naspe, 2002) • Infants should interact with parents and/or caregivers in daily physical activities that promote exploration of their environment. • Infants should be placed in safe settings that facilitate physical activity and do not restrict movement for prolonged periods of time.
Infants’ physical activity should promote the development of movement skills. • Infants should have an environment that meets or exceeds recommended safety standards for performing large muscle activities. • Parents and/or caregivers should be aware of the importance of physical activity and facilitate movement skills.
Movement activity ideas for infants • Provide colorful and moving mobiles over their cribs. • Play games that encourage infants to “come and get” toys within crawling or reaching distance. • Provide opportunities to play with large blocks, stacking toys, nesting cups, textured balls, and squeezed toys.
Physical activity guidelines for toddlers (12-36 months) (naspe, 2002) • Toddlers should have at least 30 minutes daily of structured physical activity. • Toddlers should engage in at least 60 minutes and up to several hours per day of daily, unstructured physical activity and should not be sedentary for more than 60 minutes at a time except when sleeping.
Toddlers should develop movement skills that build on more complex movements tasks. • Toddlers should have indoor and outdoor areas that meet or exceed recommended safety standards for performing large muscle activities. • Parents and/or care givers need to be aware of the importance of physical activity.
Movement activity for toddlers • Provide a variety of movement activities that introduce basic gross motor skills such as kicking, catching and bouncing balls of different sizes and shapes. • Provide a variety of manipulatives such building blocks, rings, and large puzzles. • Encourage them to scribble and draw with crayons and pencils.
Physical activity guidelines for preschoolers (3- 5 years) (naspe, 2002) • Preschoolers should have at least 60 minutes a day of structured physical activity. • Preschoolers should engage in at least 60 minutes and up to several hours of daily unstructured physical activity and not be sedentary for more than 60 minutes at a times except when sleeping.
Preschoolers should develop competence in movement skills that build on the more complex movement skills. • Preschoolers should have indoor and outdoor areas that meet or exceed recommended safety standards. • Parents and/or care givers need to be aware of the importance of physical activity.
Movement activity ideas for preschoolers • Provide a wide variety of movement experiences that require coordinating body movements with visual information such as ball rolling, throwing and catching balls, and striking or kicking. • Introduce activities that elevate the heart rate such as dancing, biking, jump rope, swimming, and brisk walking.
Provide experiences with outdoor play equipment to stimulate movement exploration and creative play. • Provide opportunities to draw, play musical instruments, and complete puzzles to further develop fine-motor development.
Early childhood programs are finding that movement is a very effective learning medium for young children. • Movement activities stimulate problem-solving abilities, critical thinking, and reinforce a variety of academic concepts.
Additional resources • “Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School” by John Medina. • “Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five” by John Medina.
“BRAIN GYM INTERNATIONAL” • “Play & Learn: A preschool curriculum for children of all abilities” by Mary j. Sullivan Coleman OTR, MA & Laura J. Krueger PT, MA
Brain rules: 12 Principles for surviving and Thriving at work, home, and school • Questions asked: • How do we learn? • What exactly do sleep and stress do to our brains? • Why is multitasking a myth? • Why is it so easy to forget and so important to repeat new knowledge? • Is it true that men and women have different brains?
Each chapter describes a “Brain Rule” what scientists know for sure about how our brains work and then offers ideas for our daily lives. • Dr. John Medina, a molecular biologist, shares how the brain sciences might influence the way we teach our children and the way we work.
You will discover: • Exercise improves cognition. • Every brain is wired differently. • We are designed never to stop learning and exploring. • Memories are volatile and susceptible to corruption. • Sleep is powerfully linked with the ability to learn . • Vision trumps all of the other senses. • Stress changes the way we learn.
Brain rules for baby: how to raise a smart and happy child from zero to five • Through fascinating and funny stories, John Medina, a developmental molecular biologist and dad, unravels how a child’s brain develops and offers practical tips for any parent.
what you will learn: • Where nature ends and nurture begins. • Why you don’t need to buy “brain boosting” baby toys. • Why men should do more household chores. • What to say to your child when emotions run hot. • The effect of TV on children under 2.
Why praising “effort” is better than praising “intelligence.” • Why the best predictor of academic performance is not IQ; it’s self-control.
Brain Gym international • Founded in 1987 under the name of Educational Kinesiology Foundation and changed to Brain Gym International in 2000. • Used in over 87 countries and translated in 40 languages. • Based on the principle that moving with intention leads to optimal learning.
26 brain gym movements • Developed by educator and reading specialist Paul E. Dennison and his wife and colleague, Gail E. Dennison. Basis of their work is the interdependence of movement, cognition and applied learning. The 26’ movements provide practical tips and tools for immediate implementation and explore the relationship between intentional moving and learning.
Effectiveness of these simple activities have been reported over the past 20 years. • Dramatic improvements have been made in the following skill areas: • Concentration • Memory • Academics: reading, writing, math, test taking
Physical coordination • Relationships • Self –responsibility • Organization skills • Attitude
Multiple studies have been done to support the effectiveness: • Effects on Academic Progress, Reading, Writing, Mathematics, Eye Movement and Vision, Spelling, Attention, Locomotion, & Fine Motor Control, Arousal, Deficit Disorder, Hyperactivity, and Problem Behaviors.
The 32nd symposium – intervention for persons with special needs • Thursday, March 1 – Saturday, March 3, 2012 at the Minneapolis Airport Marriott Hotel in Bloomington. • Introduction to Brain Gym – 8 hour Session 8:30 – 6:00
play & learn: a curriculum for children of all abilities (ablenet) • Curriculum, published in 1999 is revised and simplified. • Based on the belief that all children learn through movement and meaningful play and facilitating friendships at the preschool level is of utmost value and importance.
Evidence-based practice drive the “Play and Learn” components: • Transdisciplinary– “Holistic Model.” • Routines – Embeds activities in child’s day. • Universal Design – Activities are meaningful and relevant to young children and presented with a range of options.
Strength-Based – Focuses on what is or has been successful for the child. • Families more invested in the assessment and Learning: • What does not work? • What does work? • What might work in their situation? • Family Focused!
Key elements in a learning environment • Movement and Music • Structure and Repetition • Motivation • Social Interactions
Movement and music • Movement plays a significant role in alerting the nervous system and keeping it at an optimal level for learning. • Children learn about their world through movement. • Music is motivating for young children and is an important channel for learning. • The combination facilitates growth in social/emotional, sensorimotor, receptive and expressive language, and cognitive skills.
Structure and repetition • Promotes calmness and internal organization within each child. • Provides predictability with clear expectations for optimal learning. • Provides structure with strong visual supports. • Provides skill transference through repetition of tasks with variation.
motivation • We know children stay motivated when they are having fun and playing with friends. • Research shows that play activities using gross and fine motor skills promote all areas of learning.
Social interactions • Any activity can be set up as an opportunity for social interaction between children. • Children giggling and playing together with highly motivating activities enhance social/emotional growth.
Sensory systems • We all learn through our senses: • Smell • Sight • Taste • Hearing • Tactile • Vestibular • Proprioception
Tactile (Touch) • Lets a child know if his elbow hurts when he falls. • Helps a child feel and recognize an object in his jacket pocket before he pulls it out and sees it.
Vestibular (movement) • Responds to changes in head position and body movement in space. • Coordinates the child’s eyes, head, and body, and both sides of the body.
Proprioception (body position) • Provides child with a sense of his/her body as information is exchanged between the brain and muscles and joints. • Provides child with information of how each body part is moving which assists in performing preschool tasks.
The tactile, vestibular, and proprioceptive senses keep the brain alert and help organize all the senses naturally. • Children having difficulties organizing sensory information may avoid or be frightened by activities such as the playground. This impacts other areas of learning.