boy balancing on Community Playthings hollow blocks and plank

What's wrong with an active child?

“The teacher just informed me that my three-year-old boy isn’t the ‘perfect fit’. They say he’s too active,” the lady related over the phone. “Is there something wrong with him?”

Angela Hanscom, a paediatric occupational therapist, was shocked. “My blood boils at the notion that something is wrong with an active three-year-old boy,” she writes. “We are expecting children to sit still when they are just barely out of nappies?” Children require full body movement, risks, and challenges in order to grow into balanced, healthy, and resilient adults. How can we overcome our fears to give children the outdoor play and unrestricted freedom of movement they desperately need? As a therapist, Angela has successfully treated many children with attention, balance, and sensory issues. What is her unconventional remedy? Read the article.

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How music helps to ease stress during the day

Why do so many of us use “the Clean-Up Song” to indicate that it is time to pack up the toys? Probably because it works! Repetitive, familiar songs are one of the best ways to announce and calmly ease children through daily transition times. A child doesn’t need a lot of information to transition, and a tune—used regularly—offers them a signal without overwhelming them with words.

In her years of teaching experience, Margaret Hooton has acquired a wealth of tried-and-tested little songs for all moments of the day. Try them yourself! Listen here.

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two children balancing on Outlast planks and blocks

Connecting the two sides of the brain

“Jimmy found it incredibly difficult to sit comfortably at the table; he was a right fidget-bottom, moving about trying to get into a comfortable position. He also found it difficult to grasp the thin pencil in the correct manner and write on a small piece of paper. He was struggling. Jimmy sat at the table for 25 minutes and had written three plausible js. His peers had all left, but Jimmy knew he had to cover the whole page, so he sat there watching his peers go about their learning choices….” (Neil Farmer, Getting it right for boys)

Children must become physically balanced by crossing the “centre line” which runs down the middle of their bodies. They will be unable to read and write until they have achieved this. Here’s how you can help them cross the centre line.

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a reception age child creating a tower with wooden unit blocks

Eat, Sleep, Play, Learn: model for living

“Amongst the many uncertainties of the modern world, several indisputable global facts about the health, well-being and learning of young children are beginning to emerge,” write Pam Mundy and Sue Egersdorff, co-directors of International Early Years.

In a series of articles, Pam and Sue encourage all who care about children to help them first attain readiness for life, before concentrating on gaining readiness for school. Read the first article.

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a reception age boy mark making at a table

What is happening to fine motor development?

In recent years a growing number of children are “arriving at school lacking in basic fine motor skills,” writes Dr Marcy Guddemi. Like large motor development, fine motor skills develop progressively, beginning in the earliest years of childhood. Young children who spend too much time “swiping and tapping” electronic devices, instead of playing with manipulative toys or colouring with crayons, struggle with poor hand control and weak pencil grip in school.

This article is a call to action for educators and parents to return to the time-tested play materials of childhood – blocks, play dough, stringing beads, and crayons – to best prepare our children for school. Read it and share it!

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