We often take for granted how our bodies operate and how the experiences of our bodies teach us to understand the world around us. The unconscious energy spent is enormous! Without our bodies, our brain would be at a loss to describe the world. Our ability to see, touch, feel, hear, move, and control ourselves in relationship to the environment is the slate that academic learning is etched on. Movement cannot be separated from knowing and understanding; movement is part of what we remember as we learn. Movement also cannot be separated from accomplishments; it is part of how we express what we have learned.
Children are expected to sit in a chair at school and remain there as long as we request them to do so. We expect our children to naturally develop this ability. But sitting in a chair, holding a pencil, copying from the board and controlling behavior are tasks requiring the orchestration of many facets of experience and learning! Some children’s bodies do not have the strong foundation of fundamental sensory-motor skills necessary to transmit information needed by the brain for academic success. Using incomplete and immature information to develop a skill can result in maladaptive methods or patterns and increased frustration.
In our motor gym, we incorporate a variety of customized, graded movement patterns, motor tasks, and reflex integration activities to help children develop a strong sensory-motor base. These exercises are designed to help children develop the necessary competencies for learning readiness and mastery of movement in their environment. The program is based on the research of Athena Oden, physical therapist and author of “Ready Body, Learning Minds”. The benefits of completing these exercises on a regular basis include increases in motor skill development, body awareness, coordination, and motor planning – resulting in improved school success.