Archive for May, 2016

Keep ‘Em Moving!

Posted on: May 31st, 2016 by ctpadmin

Keep ‘Em Moving!  The importance of movement in the development of the young child

Did you know that it is really important in development for kids to move – to creep, crawl, walk, run, jump, skip, hop, ride a bike, swing a hula hoop, and more?


The education jargon calls it gross motor activity.  It is important for children to master actions that fall into this category so they may be successful in their daily activities in school.  By having control over their bodies, they will become capable of moving through crowded walkways, or sitting in a chair.  Eventually, the gross motor activity will lead to development of fine motor activity which will allow them to hold a pencil, crayon, marker or other tool.  It will also allow them to have more self-control over their body.  Additionally, movement helps kids avoid the onslaught of childhood obesity which is running rampant in our society

Motor activity is helpful for important growth issues, one of which is balance.  Some of our playground equipment has changed over the years to eliminate some of the items which required more strength and varied kinds of movement.  There seems to be an elimination of see-saws and swings at some playgrounds.  When I was a child, there was always a merry-go-round that could hold several children that  was powered by running and jumping on so you could spin around.  I don’t think I’ve seen one of those in years.   Balance is associated with vestibular stimulation which happens when you spin. We are eliminating items that are good for kids’ development because maybe there’s a slight possibility that someone may be hurt on a piece of equipment.

Belkis on monkey barsDoing creative movement in the classroom is a wonderful way to increase motor activity and stimulate the brain while also stimulating the imagination of children.  Creativity will happen for young children when they are able to move and express themselves with their whole bodies.  Movement is equipping them as active, thinking, creative young people who will be more successful in school.

Much of this will impact readiness for preschool and kindergarten.  Rather than reinvent the wheel, here is a good article about expectations for school readiness.

PSA values the importance of outside play and movement in and out of the classroom in the educational curriculum across all ages.

We hope you are able to have fun moving with your child this week.



Music Makes Kids Smarter

Posted on: May 5th, 2016 by ctpadmin

Music Makes Kids Smarter!

When I was teaching baby music classes, we made sure that we did movement activities with even the smallest babies.  Using the nursery rhyme, “Diddle diddle dumpling, my son John” we would move the baby’s legs in time with the rhythm of the rhyme.  The child would just laugh and want more – we would do it slowly, or quickly, speaking in a high pitched voice, or a low one. While we were having fun, the educational piece was developing rhyming, rhythm, bilateral motion, vocal differentiation, and tempo. Some of those things are musical terms (it was a music class, after all), but all of them are things that apply to children’s learning.IMG_5246

At all age levels we add in things like scarves and hand percussion instruments to help put a feeling of the beat into the children’s body.  At a very young age, the child feels music through their entire body. Music with Mrs. Johnson        Movement

As the children grew older, we would give them rhythm sticks which we would use to keep the beat of the music we were listening to.  The educational components of that activity were many –

Listening to good music

Selective listening skills

Keeping a beat

Practicing bilateral motion (see article)

Crossing the midline

Following non-verbal directions


“Rhythm is an integral part of both music and language,” Kraus says. “And the rhythm of spoken language is a crucial cue to understanding.” – See more: in this article.

078One of the important aspects in learning to read, is for a child to be able to cross the midline.  The ability for crossing the vertical midline begins at a young age.  This is when we are able to cross our body to use our right hand on our left side or vice versa.  Very young children use the hand that is closest to the object, rather than crossing the midline.  Sometimes they will even move their whole body to avoid crossing the midline.  If the child never is able to cross the midline, they will have a difficult time reading as their eyes will stop when they get to the middle of the page, rather than reading all the way across.

PSA values the importance of outside play, movement, and musical activities in the educational curriculum across all ages.

Sue Leavitt