Creating Places for Kids to Move in Small Spaces

Early childhood care professionals know movement contributes to the overall development of young kids. In the physical area, movement not only helps necessary motor skills develop and mature properly, but it also encourage physical fitness, which is especially essential considering the current childhood obesity disaster and its related health issues. Socially and emotionally, developmentally suitable movement activities help kids learn cooperation skills and how to take turns and share space with others. And recent research shows movement is important to brain and cognitive development. Still, many early childhood care and education programs don’t include movement actions beyond the daily trip outside or the occasional dance to kid’s recording. Why? The most common reason: lack of space. After all, how can you run physical activity for several lively kids when there’s hardly enough room for them to sit at circle time without crowding each other? Take kids outside! While it would be beautiful to have just the right space in which to perform movement lessons, such a space is rare. Teachers with right of entry to a gym,multipurpose room, or extra classroom are among the fortunate few. But also fortunate are those with plenty playground space. The outdoors is certainly the best place for young kids to perform and master emerging physical skills and to understand the pure joy of movement. It’s also the place where they’re likely to burn the most calories, which is very important in the fight against childhood fatness. The “Inside” Track for kids if you must use your indoor classroom for movement activities, pushes the furniture to the walls to create the most open space possible. When you reorganize the furniture, ask the kids to help and make the task fun by asking them to imagine being construction workers, Santa’s elves, or Snow White’s dwarves. As you organize the space, be sure limits are clearly definite and that equipment and objects providing either a safety hazard or an irresistible attraction are removed. If material distractions can’t be detached like tables “begging” to be climbed on, or wheel toys just “asking” to be ridden, consider covering them before your movement sessions to get rid of the temptation. Place safe obstacles along tangible walls and wrap floor-to-ceiling columns in padded material to guard kids from injury. There Are No Excuses! Of course, sometimes in spite of of what you do, you will never have sufficient open space, indoors or out. But that doesn’t mean movement can’t be part of the program! After all, not all movement involves wandering through space. Nonlocomotor skills such as stretching, bending, shaking, turning, rocking, swaying, swinging, twisting, and dodging are necessary, too, and many locomotors skills like walking, running, jumping, galloping, and hopping can be carry out in place. You can guarantee kids have valuable experiences with these skills by keeping the fundamentals of movement in mind.

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The Importance of Positive Learning Environments finally, to make sure movement experiences run smoothly, you’ll want to set up a positive learning environment. As Montessori course points out, “It is more development and less stressful for everyone involved if adults focus on setting the stage for proper behavior, rather than on warning kids after they behave improperly.” To this end, you have to establish ground rules: 1) We will respect one another’s private space, and 2) We will contribute with as little noise as possible.