Hello again! The festivals and vacation are over and am back to the grind, if am allowed to say so! After enjoying a week long break from school and work, am trying to get back to the daily school routine and the tasks at hand. As the new term dawns, there is a lot of running around, planning and event organization, which is testing my physical ability. The second academic term usually is full of activities other than academics, and the one right at the top of my mind is our very own Sports Day. It’s only now that I have realized that being a “Fit” kindergarten teacher is as important as inculcating the idea of being fit and active in young children. And who better to teach me this all important lesson than my very own bodily-kinesthetic kindergarteners! The use of their body in terms of music, movement, sports and games and other activities transcends way beyond just being physically fit. These busy bees are always on their feet, doing things by themselves and learning all the important life lessons along the way.
I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand-Confucius.
When the great Chinese philosopher made the above statement, he was probably talking about the people who believe in learning by doing. Having said that, it doesn’t take the importance away from people who are, visual learners or auditory learners. It’s just that there is a section of population, who benefit the most by practically doing and experiencing things for themselves.
Who are bodily-kinesthetic learners?
Technically bodily kinesthetic ability is to use one’s body as a whole or body parts in order to learn things, attain skills and gain knowledge about the world around. These children always look for opportunities to touch, feel and do things, mostly using the things and objects in their vicinity. They have a hands-on approach to solve any given problem and actively participate in the process, rather than being passive participants. Children belonging to this category display extraordinary levels of energy and physical endurance. You can seldom hear them complain about being tired or lethargic, making you wonder what they eat and where they get all this energy from!! They are not the ones who prefer sitting in a place. Most often than not, these children are found moving around and trying out different and novel things, usually mistaken for being restless and hyper-active. It takes a real keen eye to identify this thin line and to help these kids reach their maximum potential via their choice of learning style.
Now that we know the requirements of bodily-kinesthetic learners, it becomes imperative for us to pull up or socks, literally, to provide the most conducive environment to foster these young bundles of energy. As it is, we are all well aware of the fact that kindergarteners are always active and its quite a challenge to channelize their energy in the most effective and constructive way, and this is all the more important where the physical learners are concerned. Let’s have a look at a few ways and means to achieve the same. In order to do this, the first step is to understand their strengths.
- Children with body awareness and kinesthetic abilities respond brilliantly to any kind of physical challenges and stimuli. They promise maximum participation whenever there is a physical task involved, ensuring they produce maximum results, both in terms of quality and quantity.
- Children belonging to this category exhibit above average motor skills, both gross and fine. They can use their gross muscles like hands, legs; and fine muscles like fingers, toes, eyes etc in the most effective way. They have excellent eye hand coordination too, the best example being their ability to sort things, string beads, cutting, tearing and pasting activities etc.
- Bodily-kinesthetic children display great levels of physical fitness in all areas like high levels of energy, body flexibility, agility etc. They amaze you with the way they use their body to understand the things around them.
- As I mentioned earlier, they are always on the move. It is extremely difficult for them to sit still in a place and go about their business. They also make it a point to involve others in their activities, and if they don’t find company, they are happy to run around by themselves too.
Following is a tentative list of activities that the children with bodily-kinesthetic learning style are sure to benefit from.
- Any kind of touch and feel activities. These children rely a lot on their sense of touch and feel. Giving them lots of textures to work with is an excellent way to ensure learning to happen.
- Pandora’s Box!! Just like a pandora’s box or a jumble yard sale, provide loads and loads of varied materials to these children. They are sure to use them in the most effective ways to identify and solve problems. They have the uncanny ability and knack to use these manipulatives to come up with something innovative and useful!
- Have a visually and physically stimulating environment. Most of the times, it can be seen that visual and physical learners go hand in hand. This combination is a common feature among children. In order to cater to these specific needs, providing a stimulating environment becomes utmost important. Let there be heaps of toys, puzzles, manipulatives and other learning aids within their reach and sight. Its gives them a great sense of satisfaction and achievement when they find things on their own and work with them.
- These are the sportsmen and scientists! Lots of physical games for them, which involve running, jumping, hopping, skipping etc. they also love to do manual experiments in the fields of mathematics and science.
- In the lap of Mother Nature! Nothing beats the importance of a good and interesting nature walk for these children. Even small hikes and camping activities for slightly older children is a great idea. Children come across innumerable objects in nature which they can touch, feel, and use to create something really new, interesting and usable to gain knowledge and in turn learn.
- Dance, drama and dumb charades! I can’t think of anything cuter and more adorable than the tiny tots twirling and matching steps to the beats of their favourite songs! They are extremely talented dancers and actors. Thus, activities like dance recitals, make believe play, small drama sequences etc. work like heaven with these children. Not only do they provide an opportunity to learn, but also bring a breath of fresh air to the otherwise mundane classroom/home routine.
- Provide materials like clay, play dough, simple carpenter tools, blocks, legos, sports equipments like different balls, bats, racquets etc. This allows the children to bloom like flowers in their best possible way, ensuring maximum learning. Don’t forget the age old adage, “Most life lessons are learnt on the sports field.”
Here, once again we come to the end of an interesting aspect of Multiple Intelligence, perhaps the one which majority of the children exhibit. By nature, children love to use their bodies to explore the world around them and it’s only fair that we give them all the required means and ways to do it in the most effective and productive way. The enthusiastic and ever active young children have definitely sparked an interest and need in me to be physically fit, which aids in my mental well-being as well. Hope this article does the same for the readers, and in-turn help them be on their toes all the time in order to meet the ever challenging needs of the little ones, helping them learn and grow into wonderful and unique human beings!
Stay tuned for more to come, and for all the teachers out there, a special round of best of lucks for all the events coming up!!
Chaitra is a Bangalore based kindergarten teacher who is passionate about children and their developmental aspects. She is a graduate of Home Science and holds a Masters’ degree in Human Development (Early Childhood Education). As a part of her Thesis, she has co-published a book stressing on the importance of introducing science at an early age, as young as 3 years. She has a two year work experience with one of India’s largest chain of preschools, Kidzee. Currently, she is employed as a kindergarten teacher with a reputed international school in Bangalore. Apart from having a blast with young children every day, her other interests are trying out and cooking new and different cuisines, reading and travelling.