Teaching Children the Importance of Movement
In a society in which many adults and children watch too much television or get caught up in technology, it's important to remember that movement is an essential part of our lives. "Not only is movement natural, it is also necessary for optimal physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development. Moving children are developing children," explain Joye Newman, MA, and Miriam P. Feinberg, PhD, in their book Move to Learn. Based on the factors Newman and Feinberg focused on in developing activities for Move to Learn, here are some flexible, simple strategies to help you get your students moving:
- Provide preschoolers and kindergarteners with numerous sensory-motor experiences. Try to provide activities that focus on at least one of the five senses while also focusing on helping children develop their motor skills.
- Integrate a variety of gross motor activities. Incorporating activities that promote movement, such as postural control and locomotion (rolling, jumping, crawling, and creeping) will help children develop and strengthen their gross motor skills.
- Combine music with movement. Provide additional learning opportunities for children, enhance children's auditory system, and develop children's sense of rhythm by adding music to activities.
- Offer directed movement activities to do outdoors. Nondirected play on the playground is beneficial to young children, but it's equally important that you provide directed movement (both indoors and outdoors).
- Incorporate opportunities for social awareness and self-expression. Make an effort to choose activities that encourage freedom of expression within a wide range of abilities. Since there are no right or wrong responses, everyone can feel a sense of accomplishment by succeeding at his or her own level.
Read Move to Learn for a variety of movement activities you can utilize in your classroom. Be sure to also read the articles in the Health and Safety category of our Insights and Inspirations section for ways to help children learn about nutrition and physical exercise.