Have you ever seen a three year-old child enter a new space?
Being able to walk already, they will use this motor school in order to learn things about the new environment, but not exclusively.
They will kneel down, sit down, grab things, look at them, even smell or taste them. This is how young children learn on a daily basis and it is an aspect that we must consider and respect when we work in the educational field.
Besides, we all know how much energy children have, no wonder that as adults, we are often jealous, while we are inclined to say they are “fidgety”, “restless” or “lacking concentration”.
This is all due to the systems implemented in schools, which require children to sit down and attend lessons for long periods of time. Many recent studies have revealed the strong connection between the mind and the body and all we have to do is turn this knowledge into practice for our students’ sake and also for our educators’ well-being.
We all need breaks to relax our limbs, restore energy and even just relax throughout the day. We have designed our language classes in a way that involves both cognitive skills and motor skills, in order to keep children’s attention at optimal levels and make the most out of their learning activities.
We do not leave aside any of the senses children use during their learning processes: we make use of pictures and cards to stimulate them visually, music in order to improve their listening skills while making the class fun and we use props such as balls or puppets so that they can experience physical contact and keep them interested in the activity. This way, the need for a break to run around and play is decreased and they acquire new information easily, without feeling like they have to do it. If we take a look at nursery aged children, there is no discussion whether they should play or not.
For a 3 year-old, life consists of eating, sleeping and playing. Young children learn naturally, as their brains absorb incredible amounts of information every day. Play and the need of play do not disappear naturally in the course of an adult’s life, they are just dramatically reduced for reasons like lack of time and lack of energy.
Primary and secondary school children need their fair share of play just as much as a three year-old, even though the games take different forms. Therefore, while we introduce writing and reading to our older age group classes, movement is still at the core of what we do, so that creativity and interaction don’t become duties, but just natural ways to learn and develop essential skills and gain knowledge. Let’s all take a moment and think about that, while I do a star jump and say good bye. Zàijiàn!!!