The way you measure a society’s soul is by the way that it treats its children.
Nelson Mandela

Kidz Newz no. 149 – 22nd February 2016

Welcome to Kidz Newz, especially to all new subscribers. Kidz Newz is a regular newsletter with information and teaching tips for anyone involved with young children. You are receiving this because you have attended one of my workshops, purchased a book, or you have requested to be on the mailing list. Thank you. Please forward this to anyone you feel it may be of interest to. Feedback is welcome. Don’t forget to stay in touch on our Facebook Page and watch out for our exclusive fan page competitions.


Like most brain functions, co-ordination improves with practice. Likewise, as we age, these functions tend to deteriorate because older people generally tend to be less active. When something out of the ordinary occurs, as in acquired brain injury or premature birth or some other defect, the person needs lots of physical stimulation in order to re-wire the brain. The plasticity of the brain is a relatively new science made famous by Norman Doidge but there have been many other pioneers working in this field for some time. The studies in the 1970’s by Doman and Delacato spring to mind, for example, talking about ‘patterning’. Then there were the studies in the Perceptual Motor Programs. These all had their place.

The Move to Learn people, started by Barbara Pheloung, are at the forefront of research and practice in the area of Learning Difficulties (LD) experienced by children whose brains, for whatever reason, don’t quite function normally. Barbara Pheloung discovered that the simple action of log rolling on a daily basis wired up the brain in a most amazing way. There are other movement patterns that Barbara developed that had similar effects. It is co-ordinating right and left sides of the body that co-ordinates right and left sides of the brain, thus enabling the brain to function properly.

Children who cannot co-ordinate right and left sides of the body tend to also lack concentration in class and hence, they exhibit LD. The solution is not endless mental tasks with the mistaken belief that ‘practice makes perfect’ but rather to enable the brain to learn. This is achieved through co-ordinated movement, such as those in the Move to Learn program. These are the children easily identified as ‘clumsy’ but there are many others who do not appear to be clumsy but who, nevertheless, exhibit other LD traits. A regular program of rolling on the grass outdoors or doing some simple cross-patterning activities indoors can do far more than loads of desktop activities. Furthermore, it can assist those who might otherwise ‘slip through the cracks’ and not have their LD traits recognised until it’s too late. (Check out my website at to learn more about Move to Learn resources.)

The extreme cases tend to get referred to Paediatric Occupational Therapists (OTs) but everyone can benefit from co-ordination activities. Dare I suggest dance? You would be surprised how those who struggle in class improve when they discover they like dancing or sport or drama – anything movement based. Wire up the brain through co-ordinated movement activities and you will be surprised at the difference in school performance. It saddens me when I hear of schools where all these ‘extras’ (in inverted commas because they are fundamental to me and far from being extras) are done away with in favour of emphasis on the ‘3 Rs’ because of concern for the Naplan results. The irony is the results will improve if an all-round program is delivered including lots of music, dance and physical activity. Moreover, school will be fun instead of a chore. Children will have been set up to succeed instead of failing, which leads to all sorts of self-esteem issues.

Move to Learn Workshop – Perth 5 March 2016

If you are not familiar with Move to Learn and would like to know more, here is a workshop that is coming up soon. If you are lucky enough to live in or near Perth, WA, Wynsome Richards, the WA representative of Move to Learn, is holding a training session on 5th March at the SKAMP centre in Kalamunda. For details, click on this link to access the flyer.

I’ll be there too.

Quotes of the Week

For every obstacle there is a solution – over, under, around or through.
– Dan Zadra

A year from now you will wish you had started today.
– Karen Lamb

At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, then they begin to hope it can be done, then they see it can be done – then it is done and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago.
– Frances H. Burnett.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
– Albert Einstein


I liked the simple songs in various languages. It would have been good to have had more time.
– Anita Erikson, Mt Zaagham International School. Years 3-8.

I liked the practical examples of songs. It was very informative.
– Westerway/Bothwell Primary K-6.

Small things about preschool-age children’s abilities that only an experienced teacher would know – thanks for sharing! Scarves are great – especially better than balloons (non-threatening). Thank you Marlene.
– Lisa Williamson, Angle Vale Primary, South Australia, Years 1-7.


Click on this link to see some hilarious antics by people who are well co-ordinated. Now couldn’t you see your kids putting on a concert item like this?

Click Here

About The Author

Marlene Rattigan B.A., Dip. Ed. (ECS), CELTA

Marlene Rattigan is an Early Childhood teacher, a teacher of English as a Second Language, and from 1987-2000 was a nationally accredited fitness leader. Her background is in music education. A keen interest in motor development in children led to the creation of Kidz-Fiz-Biz which she taught successfully for 13 years. Marlene also conducts workshops for children, teachers and parents at schools, in the community and at festivals. She has produced teaching manuals complete with audio CDs which are an extension of her ‘Kidz-Fiz-Biz’ program.

PO Box 6894, East Perth WA 6892, Australia
T: +61 8 9355 4890 M: +61 (0) 410 64 2781 E:

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Until next time … continue being a legend in your classroom.

Marlene Rattigan, Editor
Kidz Newz

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