Embracing Children’s Unique Qualities

One of the most powerful ways for children to learn about respect is to learn to know and appreciate one another.  Dancing Moose embraces the uniqueness of each child; and teachers, who bring their own rich diversity to the school, encourage children to appreciate one another’s feelings and unique contributions.  Seeing and befriending children who make look or speak differently is a great place to begin thinking about the benefits of difference; and addressing feelings routinely helps children to develop qualities of respect, empathy, and appreciation. For example, if one child is insensitive to another, the importance of positive comments becomes a topic of discussion at circle time.  Stories that reinforce these qualities complement these discussions.  In addition, children have opportunities for genuine conversations where they can share qualities that are unique to each of them; they are also guided to share thoughts about how to be a friend, what encourages or hurts the feelings of others, and how to resolve differences that cause hurt feelings.

Appreciating difference is an important concept as children mature in their school experience, but too often it is not deliberately acted upon in early childhood.  When children talk and share experiences, they learn to know and appreciate each other, and this should begin as early as possible.  Dancing Moose school activities encourage this kind of communication:  working together, talking together, and expressing feelings.

Gym Time—A Great Time All Around

There is a significant link between physical and concentrated performance on academic skills.  This active time may be experienced indoors or outdoors, but physical exercise is important to help students have a successful school day.  When temperatures are especially hot or cold outside, children need open space like the Dancing Moose gym to move and expend energy to keep them physically and mentally fit.Medicine and Science in Sports and Medicine published an article just a couple of weeks ago that correlated physical exercise with academic concentration. The study took place in Rome and involved 138 school children.

To determine whether exertion could make students less distracted, the researchers had the children complete several types of gym classes. The children then took a written test that required them to pick out certain letters from long chains of symbols in a short time. (The test is widely accepted as a good indicator of a person’s attention and ability to concentrate.)  Results showed that children’s test results rose after each of the classes.

We already know that physical activity is a lot of fun for children.  We know that healthy lifestyles require a lot of physical activity, but it is also important to know that taking time for physical activity each day also boosts children’s ability to concentrate on cognitive tasks.  Gym time is a great time all around!