Friday, February 14, 2014

External Validation (or "Why Are We Here?")

Sometimes, both as coaches and parents, I find it helps to have some external validation for why we do what we do. Sometimes, just the sight of obvious improvements is its own reward. Other times, when the going gets tough, its awesome to hear that other people see movement and health through the same lens we do.
"All this conversation is going on about cognitive development, but we've forgotten the child's body... The amount of physical activity since the turn of the century has declined seventy-five percent; children are not playing, and through play a great deal of active learning takes place. Children used to play in natural ways, with kids of different ages, outside, basically unsupervised by adults.  Visual and auditory attention, bodily coordination--all were gained through that kind of play. This physical learning must take place before children start dealing with abstractions; it doesn't happen if children don't have those experiences."
- Phyllis Weikart, 1987, 'Round the Circle: Key Experiences in Movement for Children'
"The ability to perform gross motor skills is related directly to physical fitness. A competent mover will gladly keep moving; he or she will engage in such activities as dancing, jumping rope, and hanging and swinging on the playground equipment. A child who feels physically awkward and uncoordinated is going to avoid movement. Such a child isn't likely to take part in an after-school game of tag  or hopscotch or to climb the monkey bars during recess. Since poor movement habits tend to remain from childhood into adulthood, a physically inactive child is likely to grow up to be an inactive adult. Considering the health risks for the unfit - obesity, heart disease, diabetes and other risks - teaching children motor skills is indeed just as important as teaching language skills...The most important thing you can do is to give children the time, space, and opportunity to move."
- Rae Pica, 2008, "Learning by Leaps and Bounds: Why Motor Skills Matter," Beyond the Journal, Young Children on the Web