To enable us to offer our families a wider variety of class times and options we often combine age groups however only those that we know are of a similar developmental ability are grouped together. Both Tui and Kiwi children are well on their way to consolidating the bi-lateral stage of development and are working towards lateralisation so this grouping works well. Our little Tuis will still be keen to jump everywhere and will need help from their attending adult to balance on one foot wheres the older Kiwis in the group are beginning to attempt hopping.
At this stage your child thinks that the world is theirs! They begin to think that they have control over their bodies. We continue to keep our mat exercises and action activities slow to help them perfect their body awareness and movement control.
Now each hemisphere of the brain can control the movements of each side of the body, in coordination. This means that we introduce specific movements that encourage crossing the mid-line – passing objects from one side of the body to the other without changing hands.
We introduce some dances that are sequential in their form, in an endeavour to help children move and think as they can now move some body parts automatically.
Jumping is still a firm favourite but now it’s off anything they can find! Hanging and swinging from the over head ladder and trapeze are also becoming favourites, developing muscle tone in both the gross and fine motor muscles of the upper body – so essential for later writing and other manual skills.
Our classes are becoming more structured as this is the time for children to start learning limits and to improve their concentration.
Now development is really bounding forward. Sessions at this age group are geared for the development of sensory integration and the consequent laterality, and for this reason a preferred hand and foot is now encouraged in all one hand/foot activities.
Being able to perform tasks that require one side of the body to be doing something different to the other side allows for the important stage of conscious cross pattern movements, which are the final attributes of nature to help the child’s growing brain to work to the best of its ability. Riding a trike, peeling a banana, or using scissors with one hand as the other holds the paper are all skills that can now be tackled. Hopping where one foot hops while the other is held up off the ground also highlights this new found skill of laterality.
For many, speech and comprehension bounds forth at this age. Instructions are increased in complexity to allow for the development of auditory and visual memory, imperative for survival at school. Repetition is vital for this development.