"In Denmark, fifty percent of children aged 2½ - 6 spend four hours every day in Forest Kindergartens where they climb rocks, trees, hills, roll, jump, balance and play; regardless of the weather. These children's vestibular systems are so well developed that learning difficulties and dyslexia are rare." [Paraphrased]
Smart Moves, Why Learning is Not All in Your Head", Carla Hannaford
What is missing in preschool and early learning years that brings to light dozens of named conditions under the banner of ‘learning difficulties? For the past decade Gymnastrix has been modifying, expanding and exploring the use of the virtually unknown, undeveloped Vestibular Sense. There are 3 key steps we have undertaken that set Active Academics apart from any other program offered; whether in house or by an external specialist.
Our current education system has highlighted the engagement of multiple senses to improve cognition, understanding and information processing and recall. Simultaneously it has failed to engage the complete range of senses, including thought, vestibular sense and proprioception. Although the list of senses is incomplete, regardless of how many we label; each small inroad towards complete engagement of all aspects of a human being, improves the quality, depth and breadth of understanding housed within our education process.
Let’s assume that “Learning Difficulties” [insert your own label] is not the child’s problem, but the context and environment in which learning occurs. By making the “Difficulty” an outcome, educators are now able to test situational, environmental and sensory impacts which improve the outcomes. In fact, this is the true meaning of education. We assume that ‘teaching’ is education, when it is merely filling an empty vessel with knowledge. Upend the vessel and it is easy to watch the knowledge be poured out.
The vestibular sense, also known as the balance sense, is the awareness of your body is space. The name comes from the word vestibule or hallway. This hallway to the brain begins to develop just two months after conception. The vestibular sense is completely formed around five months after conception. Any mum can tell you when this happened, as baby begins playing soccer in the womb! Womb movement help the vestibular sense fully functioning sensory system before any other.
Isn’t it strange that in today’s world of faster and faster change, we deny our children the opportunity to move (change position)? Surely it is vital that teachers of pre-university students expand, explore, train, engage and push the boundaries to ensure our students are resilient, versatile and prepared for the world in which they will spend the rest of their lives? It may be easier to remove challenge, new experiences and activities which we feel students are exposed to ‘danger’ (cotton-wooling our kids) but it creates a situation where students quickly become labelled with a ‘learning condition’.
Active Academics is available as part of your Gymnastrix Program. It is affordable as Gymnastrix is a GYMNSW approved provider and qualifies for Sporting Schools Funding Grants.