Movement & Learning
The greatest gifts we can give a child are a sense of physical and emotional well-being, a sense of comfort and bonding, the joy of being, curiosity, confidence, the ability to relate to others, and organization and problem solving skills. These skills are greatly influenced by the child’s early movement and touch learning experiences. Through play and handling, teachers, parents and caregivers have the opportunity to make a difference in a child’s life. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of skillful training available on basic skills, including proper handling and a deep understanding of developmental movement patterns. We facilitate children in learning to speak and read, but passively assume that their movement will develop to its full potential without any kind of understanding or direction on our part.
The first year of life is crucial in the development of the child and of the adult the child will become. During this time, the infant is forming the patterns of movement, perception, and organization of information on which it will build its relationships to itself, to others and to the world. Facilitating development during this period can greatly enhance the child’s physical, emotional and intellectual abilities.
Touch and movement are the earliest ways in which the child comes to know itself and its world. They form the base for more complex learning processes. They are the first modalities of learning and form the foundation for bonding, relationships, perception, learning, emotional well-being, physical agility, cognitive functioning and also the general ease with which a child can grow and develop.
The nervous system is developing rapidly in infancy. While this neurological development has an effect on movement, the child’s movement also affects the nervous system. Neurological organization is greatly influenced by the emergence and integration of the child’s movement patterns. Patterns that do not emerge or do not become integrated can have a serious affect on the child’s functioning. However, because the nervous system has a great deal of plasticity during this period, it is easier to facilitate optimal movement.
Our LeapFrog Gymnastics Movement Program is a highly sophisticated and subtle approach to the observation and facilitation of normal movement patterns in infants and children. The approach incorporates the child’s curiosity, interest and individuality into the relationship with the movement educator. It is child centered and relationship centered, and child oriented rather than task oriented.
Our GymFit and Youth programs are non competitive classic gymnastics programs and a great way exercise while having fun. Children will gain strength and muscle flexibility as well as develop fast twitch muscle fibres that will have long term physical benefits.
At Kerrigan we train our movement educators to recognize early movement patterns and to interact effectively with infants, and children in gentle, enticing ways that will have a positive effect on their growth and development. The goal in movement education with infants, and children is to help set a foundation that supports pathways of ease, strength, agility and adaptability and to help avoid restrictive patterns of movement that inhibit the development of the full potential of the child.
Our approach is gentle, non-intrusive, and enticing rather than demanding. It is direct and highly specific to the individual child. It does not force or impose, but focuses, engages, interacts, entices and seeks to engage the child’s inherent curiosity and interest. It always looks at the whole child and fully embraces each child and their parents and family. It includes and educates the family in the interactive process.
To put it simply, learning to move your body at an early age helps grow your brain and continuing to move and train your body throughout childhood facilitates learning and a healthy lifestyle.