Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Dishing out Directionality

Week 4 heralded our first Motor Skill week of Term 3... exciting stuff because of course the physio in me always loves an excuse to get the kids MOVING in different ways. The skill this week was Directionality which is what helps children understand the space around them. Earlier in the year we learnt about laterality, which is the understanding that our bodies have two sides, left and right, now it is time to take this internal awareness and apply it the world around us. Applying internal spatial awareness to external surroundings will help our children identify where things are and and where they are in relation to these things.

In order for our smaller Head Starters to start practicing directionality our parents/grandparents had to exercise their oral language skills by providing verbal explanations throughout the class, for example "well done, you are crawling through the tunnel", "good job, you are hiding behind the slide". By providing this feedback we were able to draw the little ones' attention to their position in space in relation to objects around them. Try this at home by taking every opportunity to use 'direction' oriented language such as, in/out/up/down/through/under/over/behind/between/beside etc. Using props such as toys, trucks, food etc can be a good way to help initiate these conversations too.

For the older bunch we took the directionality a bit further and added sign-posted directions to our obstacle course to get them thinking about moving left/right/up/down/through/around etc. To make it a bit more challenging we threw some motor movement signs into the mix too so the kids were doing things like skipping up the ramp, walking in baby steps along the beam and jumping backwards onto the beanbag...I told you that I love the see this bunch MOVING!!

On a slightly different note, we had a great session with our ADORABLE Puku Playdate babies this week. The focus for these wee ones was Tummy Time activities and how to make this fun and easy at home...there were even a few smiles when they were on the swiss balls and checking themselves out in the mirror!! I will pop a picture up later in the week of the babies doing their best 'Speckled Frog' impression over our bolster/log - cute!

So everyone, get your best direction-words going and see what you can come up with this week. Remember to tune back in next week to see how our next visual skill goes down in week 5.
Till then, keep smiling! Lizz & the Head Start Team

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