Last week LANK teachers had a great opportunity to learn from one of the leading voices in early childhood education. Rae Pica, co –founder of BAM radio (which is online education radio) and educational consultant, led our staff in a meaningful morning by describing and actively engaging teachers in the urgent call for movement as a vehicle for teaching. Earlier in the year, the staff heard from other experts in the field; Wolftrap Center for the Performing Arts, and Northern Virginia Community College professor Gail Multop. All stressed the importance of using the whole body to learn; not just the brain! I would be remiss if I didn’t directly thank our parents for their generosity throughout the year, which enables us to bring such experts to our school and gives teachers the tools/knowledge needed to make our school so special.
I would also be remiss if I didn’t convey to parents some of the main points this workshop provided, so you too can learn right along with us! Educators often tout the phrase “teach the whole child” but forget that in order to do just that, children need to be actively using their body parts. It should be expected in classrooms that children tap out beats gently or tiptoe to truly understand what the term “softly” means. Reaching up high to the ceiling or low to the floor may help our toddlers to understand top and bottom, while our five year olds may have a new understanding of letter placement! If we want to convey to children that geese fly south in a V pattern then we need to invite our children to practice flapping as a group in the shape of a V!
Rae’s presentation to our faculty centered on literacy; speaking, listening, reading and writing. In each category, teachers were given some ideas and examples of ways to incorporate movement in their curriculum plans. Many are the staples of yesteryear, simple games like Simon Says or Statues, finger plays or sky writing. But what struck me most is that while we recognize the importance of movement to maximize learning, as a society we keep veering more in the direction of stillness, and pencil tasks for very young children. Rae has a passion for educating policy makers and administrators about the importance of physical activity as it relates to the brain. In turn, her passion and energy has inspired LANK to keep “moving!“