As preschools, most of us concentrate a lot on cognitive development. Teaching the letters and numbers are definitely most important for the child’s progress into mainline school and parents and schools focus on that.
However, another magic is unfolding right in front of our eyes!
Our little babies have learnt to sit, stand, take a step forward, toddle, walk, run, jump, hop, skip in the time they were just born to becoming two years of age. Can you image the tremendous rate at which the skeletal and muscular systems must be developing to be able to support these changes in the child in such a short period of time?
The ages from 2 to six is about refining each of these movements and becoming more proficient at them, and in addition put on height to be able to soon reach the maximum height for life as they turn 18.
So while the brain is developing, so is the body. And just as the brain needs support to develop optimally via a good curriculum, so also the body (bones and muscles and their associated systems) need a good sports programme to ensure optimal physical development.
Many preschools ignore this very important aspect of physical development.
But physical activity is not only about developing the muscular systems of the body. It is about bringing in hormonal balance, it is about channelizing the energies in the right way, and it is about refining life skills in the child, building a life for the active and the outdoor.
A child who makes a habit of sport often times continues to be a sports person through life. She builds friendships that also enjoy sports and the outdoor and therefore tends to have a healthier life style.
Building a concept of team spirit, how to lose, how to win, all these lessons are well taught on the sports and games field.
In the Helen O’Grady International Preschool, we focus a lot on the outdoors. This is a deliberate choice. Academicians who design curricula have been argued and fought with and the right of the child to play has proved triumphant in the approach to early learning years in the Helen O’Grady International Preschool.
On a typical day, children come to the preschool each morning and join their organized play circles. This circle time is about playing games in vertical groups. It is amazing indeed how children learn from each other, how they watch out for each other and enjoy games, songs and actions.
Games that they learn in the organised play, often are chosen by the children to indulge in during the free outdoor play time as well. This besides building game playing skills, builds leadership, negotiation and communication skills in the children.
Sensory Motor Integration is another very important and extremely special part of the Helen O’Grady Preschool, The exercises, activities in the Sensory Motor Integration programme stimulates and exercises the 5 senses and the senses of propioception, vestibular and introception.
Throughout the life of a child, sport and play can be valuable tools to promote health and prevent disease, both through sport itself, and through the participatory act of watching others play, with the associated communication, education and social interaction that games can produce