Last week was a blast finishing up our focus on levels – exploring up and down and lots of other different movements was so much fun. This week we move on to pathways. Our world is most commonly organized in straight lines, emphasizing efficiency and directness. When children have the opportunity to explore lots of different ways to get from one place to another, they enhance their awareness of the world around them, and develop increased agility. When a child creates curves and zigzags with their arms and upper bodies, they frequently cross the midline, helping to strengthen their corpus collosum and the ability of the brain’s two hemispheres to communicate with each other. When we explore the space we have around us, we can create new pathways – curved, circular lines, and all sorts of combinations. Like other elements of movement, pathways help develop coordination and balance. What fun it is to have new ways to play on the playground, run at the park and think about the different ways to get from here to there.
We have lots of new activities in store this week and with them, come more benefits and ways to continue the learning at home.
One benefit you will see in action this week will be experience. “Children must master the language of things before they master the language of words.” Friedrich Froebel, known as the father of kindergarten, expresses here the essence of early-childhood education: a young child cannot understand or learn the difference between hot and cold or loud and soft without experiencing these sensations.” (Froebel, Friedrich. (Translated by J. Jarvis). Pedagogics of Kindergarten. London: Edward Arnold). We will give our children the experience of floating down a river in our own boats this week, and this is an activity that is great for outside of the classroom, too. Think about using it in the car when children seem to be getting fussy or bored. Pop in the CD and begin rocking, swaying, bouncing, clapping, floating.
Another educational benefit this week is Dramatic Play. As young children play, they are establishing important links between their actions and thoughts, connections that are the basis of mental processes. Play involves an imaginary situation, explicit roles, and implicit rules. Dramatic play, found in activities like “Little Squirrel,” combines all of these basic components. (Berk, L.E. and A. Winsler. Scaffolding Children’s Learning: Vygotsky and Early Childhood Education. Washington D.C. National Association for the Education of Young Children). There are so many situations outside of the classroom that can be turned into dramatic play opportunities – try finding your own or using some from class at home.
Balance is something you probably notice your child still learning from time to time. Young children need all of the practice they can get for this skill. The semicircular canals are three tiny, fluid-filled tubes in our inner ear that help us keep our balance. When we move our heads around, the fluid triggers the hairs that line each canal. These hairs translate the movement to the fluid into nerve messages that are sent to your brain. This is how the body knows to stay balanced. (“Semicircular Canals.” Nemours Foundation: 1995-2006). When we ask children to move in specific ways or imitate our movements, this skill is necessary to meet the challenge. Challenge your children to movement games such as “Mother May I?,” “Red Light, Green Light,” or use your Home CDs to do the ones we use in class.
Please don’t hesitate to come join us for a free preview before our session ends November 8. Tuesdays at 3:00. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the form at www.kindermusikwithellen.com to sign up for your free preview today!
New classes begin in January and details for those are coming soon!