Move to Learn

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

Issue No. 62- 14th August 2008

Welcome to Kidz Newz especially to all new subscribers including those from the recent Move to Learn conference in Fiji. 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.

PD Update

23-24 August ECCPA (Early Childhood Conference of Performing Arts) Conference Melbourne. For details and registration go to My presentation will be on Relaxation to Stimulate the Imagination (2-8 yr olds).

Move to Learn

‘Bula’ is the friendly greeting you receive everywhere in Fiji. I have just spent an amazing week there attending a Move to Learn conference ( It was a blissful week of learning, networking with like-minded individuals, dancing, putting the ‘Move to Learn’ program into practice at a local school with the remedial class, going to a village to enjoy traditional dancing, and all the while immersed in the laid-back lifestyle of Fiji. While phone and email were available, it was not particularly convenient so for a whole week you could be cut off from your world, if you chose. I did and it was extraordinarily refreshing. I found myself surviving on remarkably little sleep, getting up early for a brisk walk involving lots of hills, and still survived to tell the tale. The Fijian food and lifestyle are truly beguiling.

Move to Learn was established by Barbara Pheloung, now 84 years young and still as fit as a fiddle ‘ testament to her program of exercise and good diet. Although she did not present the lion’s share of lectures ‘ that was left to OT Veronica Steer ‘ she participated fully and organised the whole thing as well as doing some presentations. Delegates came from all over the world, although mostly from Australia. They were teachers, remedial specialists, movement therapists, kinesiologists, occupational therapists, sound therapists, physiotherapists, a parent of a child with learning disabilities, a behavioural optometrist and me ‘ representing music and movement. I was privileged to present two 20 minute segments of Kidz-Fiz-Biz to show various ways of incorporating moving to music while also developing different levels of co-ordination. I was honoured that Barbara fully endorses my program, while the other delegates also enthused.

The main thrust of the conference was to ensure everyone was aware of the way children learn, from pre-birth and during the early years, and more particularly, what happens when things don’t go according to plan. We went into a great deal of depth looking at primitive reflexes which should quite naturally get integrated during a child’s development, but for some children, they don’t. So, we spent the first half-hour each day rolling on mats on the hard concrete. Yes, you read it ‘ we rolled and rolled and rolled some more. And we did things called unilateral flip-flops and cross-lateral flip-flops. We crawled on our stomachs and we crawled on our backs and when we had mastered that we graduated to rocking on all fours and finally crawling and walking.

The DVD of this program is excellent and will shortly be available from my website. If you can’t wait, go now to the move to learn website ( Barbara’s other books will also be on my website shortly. I can’t endorse this program highly enough. If you have children in your midst who simply cannot sit up straight, cannot concentrate, have learning difficulties, are labelled ADD, ADHD or dyslexic, maybe that label can be removed?

Barbara has produced a pyramid to explain development and what underpins each level. Veronica Steer has also developed her own version. Each starts at the bottom with genetic factors, chemicals and diet. What is a good diet for one child may be toxic to another. The child needs to be assessed by a qualified dietician, kinesiologist or naturopath specialising in diet (eg vega testing) to work out which foods to eliminate. Supplements may also be needed to boost brain function, such as omega 3, lecithin and B5. Harmful chemicals also need to be removed from the child’s environment, such as those in food and in common bathroom products. Then the child starts with the Move to Learn program involving first of all sideways rolling. Sounds simple but so much can be achieved through this activity that children love to do as a natural part of their play.

The Move to Learn brochure states, ‘Learning Difficulties is a neurological problem NOT an educational one. 15-20 % of students in every classroom are not achieving as well as they should. ‘ The conduction of messages to, from, and in the brain can be inefficient. As a result the students with LD are not really ready for school when they start, and find it hard to keep up with the children who are ready. ‘ daily movement sequences have been designed to fill in the gaps by triggering the nervous system to work more efficiently. This program doesn’t offer a miracle cure, but it CAN improve the concentration of the whole classroom and dramatically turn around the lives of underachievers.’

I hope to report further as new research comes to hand. Meantime, getting back to basics, simple as it seems, is often the solution to some fairly complex problems in children’s behaviour and learning styles. Next time you’re running the Kidz-Fiz-Biz program, observe motor skills carefully. If the children really cannot manage, then maybe they need something more basic to help them. Use Move to Learn. 

Quotes of the Week

Look at things not just as they are but as they can be.  (source unknown)

Your mind is like a parachute ‘ it must be open to function. (source unknown)

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


Kids Are Quick

TEACHER:  Jennifer, go to the map and find North America.
Jennifer:    Here it is.
TEACHER:  Correct. Now class, who discovered America?
CLASS:      Jennifer.

TEACHER:  John, why are you doing your math multiplication on the floor?
JOHN:        You told me to do it without using tables.

TEACHER:  Glenn, how do you spell ‘crocodile?’
GLENN:      K-R-O-K-O-D-I-A-L’
TEACHER:  No, that’s wrong
GLENN:      Maybe it is wrong, but you asked me how I spell it.

TEACHER:  Donald, what is the chemical formula for water?
TEACHER:  What are you talking about?
DONALD:   Yesterday you said it’s H to O


It was wonderful! Lots of fun, very interactive and informative.                                          
Kaylee Denham, EC Educ Student, Curtin Uni.

It is wonderful! I loved your program, it is fantastic. It incorporates learning in so many areas.
Zerin Grech, EC Educ Student, Curtin Uni.

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 9325 1204 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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