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 Penguin and Possum children are yet to lateralise (their little bodies still work bi-laterally) so this grouping works well. Our little Penguins are keen to move but do need constant help from their attending adult wheres the Possums in the group are beginning to attempt activities independently.
Walking – 18 months
Once your little one is walking, they can take part in our Penguins program. There is a vast difference between the baby program and our toddler classes and your little person may take a couple of weeks to settle into the new routine – all quite normal.
This is an exciting time as your little Penguin waddles along – striving to ‘get’ their balance and develop their body awareness.The equipment will offer new challenges – mostly slopes to walk up and down, ladder rungs to walk over, rolling down the wedge and of course posting!
In this safe and secure environment your little person will excel in a little new found independence, always knowing you are close at hand. As they start to understand simple tasks and instructions they will slowly begin to participate more in the mat activities. Slow exercises and movement to music will allow them time to learn how to move and control their limbs.
All in all it starts the foundation for strong gross motor and coordination skills.
18 months – 2 years
With a few months of walking practice under their belts this group of toddlers are developing greater balance and coordination – giving them the confidence to try new skills. Running is in! They will also begin to experiment with jumping with 2 feet off the ground and climbing becomes a firm favourite.
This stage of development is bi-lateral, meaning that both sides of the body and brain are working in coordination. By 18 months of age, toddlers have much improved skill with their hands – along with greater focus and control.
They can now follow 2 instructions and like to mimic the actions we do during mat time. We try to keep these movements slow so that they can watch and copy on their own!
For some speech is developing while others will still be perfecting their motor skills. They will all however be beginning to understand descriptive words such as big and little , over and under. An understanding of these concept words is vital for later writing skills. As the children climb and move around the equipment, we encourage parents and carers to use this language to ensure an automatic understanding of what these concepts mean.
The Possum stage sets the groundwork for the transition into the next stage – laterality. We would like to help your child in their development journey.
2 years – 2.5 years
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.