There’s a phrase I love; “practise makes permanent” a sidestep from the old “practise makes perfect”. We’re not looking for perfection at The Fern Club, instead we’re guiding children to become masters at new skills they want to learn. Whether this is becoming more dextrous with their fingers when using scissors, working on bilateral coordination…
The Fern Club Philosophy of Play
Play… where do we begin?
A topic which has been talked about, ripped apart, put back together and discussed a lot in present times. As a new parent myself I often ask myself “what kind of parent do I want to be?” and each time, I always come back to the same answer, “a playful one”. For those who really know me, they’ll see the silly, daft, goofy Lorna; laughing and generally trying to live in a positive way. I was once told at the end of job interview that I could “stop smiling now”, and it made me smile even more! I hope that as I’m bringing up my son I can instil those same positive playful values. Even now when I play, I learn. That’s what I hope The Fern Club can bring to you and your little ones too.
For a child, play really is their job. From a developmental perspective the benefits are so far reaching a blog post doesn’t really do it justice; you really need a whole book! I’ll list a few of my favourite benefits.
Play can help a child make sense of the world around them. It helps to manage fears and work out troubling situations.
At The Fern Club, children (and parents) are encouraged to play. Really simple. When children play they gain confidence in themselves, they find their comfort zones and relax, a great starting point for opening the discussion for new topics of learning.
The Fern Club Philosophy on Movement
From the very moment you feel your little one begin to kick in your tummy to the moment they run in their first sports day, we’re very aware that children love to move! Pulling themself up to standing and taking those tentative first steps, it’s amazing to see how their bodies change and adapt. Movement provides a plethora of essential feedback which develops the child as a whole. In the first years of childhood roughly 90% of the neural pathways in the brain will be set for life. This comes from movement. As soon as a child is able to move, receiving information through their 8 senses (yes 8 senses! More to come on that…!) they begin to create the building blocks for later higher level learning.
Movement at The Fern Club is at the heart of everything we love. From the very smallest fine motor skills to weight bearing and beyond. We love knowing that each movement experience is setting the child up for learning later in life. We want to step away from the pressures of formal learning and focus on the whole child, on their whole brain experiences. The more your child is able to move and experience their surroundings, the more synapses fire in their wonderful brains creating connections ready for higher level thinking.
Forget learning to read and write, that will come. How’s about encouraging moving in different planes? How’s about using the brain-body connection to be creative? How’s about helping their core muscles strengthen? What we need to remember is that movement is essential for learning. Don’t believe me? Check out these studies which categorically prove that:
– Why Young Kids Learn through Movement: Click Here
– Movement and Learning: Click Here
– The Whole Child Learning – Vestibular Systems : Click Here
If your child has a weak core, how will they maintain an upright position at school in their chair? If they have low muscle tone in their arms, how will they hold their pen correctly and for longer periods in order to learn to write?
Each time a child moves, it stimulates an amazing sense, the vestibular sense. This is the first sense developed in utero. It plays such a vital role in a person’s life and most are unaware of its even existence. Situated in the inner ear, the vestibular system is responsible for so much; balance, directionality and retina stabilisation to name a few. This sense has an impact on nearly everything we do in our day to day lives and yet it’s so often overlooked.
The most challenging aspect of balance is actually staying stationary! The best way to learn to be still is to move against gravity; with their bodies or eyes. In order to have our little ones play with a sensory bin, to learn at a desk or read a book, they must have an age appropriate developed vestibular system. This of course comes with practise and time. During classes at The Fern Club you’ll notice we encourage children to get out of their normal operating planes i.e. going upside down to see letters, using their feet to paint or log rolling whilst playing hide and seek. These challenges stimulate the fluid in the inner ear, challenges the retina to maintain stability and forces the vestibular system to connect with their muscles to maintain control.
“The more a child moves, the more a child knows, the more a child knows, the more they want to know and the more the child wants to know, the more a child needs to know” (A Moving Child is a Learning Child – Connell and McCarthy 2014).
At The Fern Club we appreciate the vital importance of early childhood movements and its role in later learning. Our love is in encouraging the child to use their bodies and brains to have fun and experience the incredible world around them. You’ll see during our classes the opening section is movement based; pure and simple inquisitive play! Whether that’s using those fingers for some small parts play or their whole fantastic body to balance and spin. We know kids learn best when they’re having fun; when the class begins children are encouraged to move and play, it sets the tone for the whole class!