Submitted by Sue Kruse, Principal
SAN TAN VALLEY, AZ (Tucson News Now) - In the J.O. Combs Unified School District, preschoolers are on the move! Movement is the center of children's lives. They use their bodies to learn and explore their world.
The preschool teachers at Ranch Elementary realize children need opportunities to move in class and out. A good, quality early childhood education program focuses on all areas of development. Physical development must be an equal part of their learning and growing. Integrating physical movement is essential in learning. Here are some ways we do it.
During whole group instruction, our students are learning letters, letter sounds and numbers through music and movement. They form letters and numbers with their fingers in the air and with their bodies. They act out and perform actions to learn the letter sounds. They learn and explore concepts, vocabulary and increase body awareness (which also helps their memory, concentration and focus).
GoNoodle is a fun and useful tool used in our classrooms to get our students up and moving. Technology is always a big motivator. It also provides "brain breaks" throughout the day. The students just love it. There is a GoNoodle home version you may want to check out. It is free for families. Even older siblings need "homework breaks" too.
We give our students structured and unstructured outside time on the playground daily. We encourage all forms of play. Running, jumping, riding bikes, climbing, sliding and overall fun. We have equipment available for them to choose to explore like balance beams, bikes, balls, beanbags, sand toys and a parachute. Structured games like red light/ green light, duck, duck, goose, as well as stretching exercises are practiced.
Brain research points to the importance of positive movement which helps a child's social, cognitive and problem solving skills. Overall, it helps improve school performance. Our preschoolers are always "movin, shakin" and learning every day!