Would a professional athlete perform without stretching? Would a world-class singer go on the stage without warming up their vocal cords? If they did, would they perform as well? The answer to both of these questions is – no. For many learners, handwriting is an extremely strenuous endeavour. Nevertheless, we as teachers often expect our pupils to go from teacher input or a discussion straight into writing with no warm up and certainly no cool down afterwards. It isn’t fair, it isn’t logical and we can do something about it right now.
The LGfL IncludED team were excited to launch our newest resource, Learning Through Movement at the LGfL curriculum conference yesterday. This resource was the brainchild of the wonderful Jo Dilworth (my predecessor) who worked with Sheena Rufus (OT) to create a training tool to help practitioners and parents to understand how and why movement is so important for learning for ALL children.
The resource is divided into the following 5 easy to access sections:
Each section has been created to be as simple and accessible to anyone who wants to ensure they are supporting learners as effectively as possible. There are some great video demonstrations in addition to downloadable resources to help get you started. We’ve also provided links to direct you to a wealth of further recommended resources.
Here we explain why movement is so important to support the development of vital learning skills/abilities and to detail what some of these skills/abilities are; including markers for the age you can typically expect these to develop and how to spot if a learner is having difficulty and needs help.
Breaks down the highly complex mix of skills which are required to write effectively and goes through each aspect individually, offering simple ideas to support learners who are having difficulty. It also covers the importance of warming up the muscles and pathways required for writing as well as cooling down afterwards.
Delves into the vital nature of movement breaks and how to very simply and effectively build these into your classroom practice. In my years of teaching, I have found that a good understanding of learners’ need for movement to help maintain focus has had a huge impact. In my opinion, as a behaviour support specialist/trainer, a lot of challenging behaviour that occurs in classrooms can be traced back to learners being unable to focus for one reason or another. I’d go as far as to say this section really is essential reading for all class based staff in schools.
Provides some good examples of the type of activity practitioners can build into sensory circuits and why these activities are so beneficial to all learners, especially those with additional needs. Have a look at this section; as you might be surprised by how easy it is to run sensory circuits using equipment you already have in your PE cupboard.
The Interventions section gives some practical examples of interventions that can be put in place to help support the development of:
- Bilateral skills
- Body awareness
- Core stability
- Motor planning
- Sensory processing
All of which are important skills for learners to master in order to be able to access their learning effectively.
The wealth of advice contained in this resource and the skills and understanding it can provide to staff can make a huge difference to your learners, all learners not just those identified as having SEND. Feel free to comment on this post. Also, let us know how you get on with the resource, or if there is more you’d like us to produce in this area of education.