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August 7, 2018

Core Strength and School Readiness

We found the below article in the Courier Mail really interesting and also really concerning. More and more children are are not prepared for Prep or struggling at school due to low core strength and underdeveloped fine motor skills.

We talk school readiness all the time at gymnastics. And school readiness comprises many different things, including both emotional readiness and physical readiness.

This article in particular is touching on core strength and how without it, children are struggling to be able to sit through a day of school. This physical exhaustion during the school day in turn can lead to issues with attention and behaviour.

Our core is like the control centre for everything our body does. A strong core is essential for good balance, coordination and doing the things we take for granted, like sitting up in a chair (or on the mat in the classroom), holding a pencil, jumping in the playground with our peers or using scissors.

As the world becomes more digital, kids play, move and are active less and less. Another issue in developing core strength.

Let them play… Outside, at home and in structured play based programs like gymnastics!  

 

You will have heard Julie and our Jnr Gym Kids team talk about purposeful play.  Guaranteed our under 5’s have no idea we are strengthening their core in every class, getting them prepared for writing and sitting at school.  Nor do they know we are working on their social skills, their listening skills or their fine motor skills – because we wrap up all of this learning and development in PLAY!

Gymnastics is wonderful for strengthening the core, from Jnr Gym Kids, right through our Gym Kids and Aspire programs.

We swing, we play on scooter boards, walk like animals, hold plank shapes and superman shapes. We tuck, rock and balance and generally move & work on coordination in every single lesson.  Every time we are bringing our hands to the middle of our body (to hold a ball, a hoop or a noodle) we are turning up the core control to balance!

If you’re concerned your child’s core strength is not where is should be – here are four fun activities you can do at home:

Animal walks and relays
Try walking like a crab, or a bear or jumping like a kangaroo. Using their body weight as resistance is greta for developing their core and this activity is also wonderful for coordination.

Wheelbarrow fun
Build upper body strength by walking like a wheelbarrow (hold your children by the feet and allow them to walk on their hands).  Wheelbarrow into the bathroom for bathtime or see how far you can go in the backyard.

Hit the playground
The local playground – lots of fun, a great energy burner and an awesome way to build kids core strength and confidence. Climbing, going across the monkey bars and down the fireman’s pole are great strengthening activities.

Bounce bounce bounce
Bouncing on the trampoline is great for improving balance and coordination and building those core muscles. It’s also a great tool for helping kids focus. By expending energy jumping and increasing oxygen intake, children’s concentration gets a boost.

Handy Tip – if you need your child to focus on something (like homework or even getting dressed into their school uniform), send them for 20 jumps on the trampoline first & see how their focus improves!).

Read more here about how gymnastics helps prepare your child for school: https://deltagym.com.au/prepare-your-child-for-school/

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