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

Issue No. 20 – 11th May 2006

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.  Please forward this to anyone you feel it may be of interest to.

Feedback is welcome.

As I will be in Europe in April/May/June, there will only be two newsletters this term.

Website Update

Please check out the main website at to see the new products now available including my e-book.  If you have always wanted to write a book, self publish or produce your own cd but don’t know where to start, then this e-book is for you.  Or maybe you just need some inspiration?  Purchases can be made online using Pay-Pal or if you prefer, you can contact me direct.

My PD Updates

Monday 22nd May – Hereford, England

Wednesday 24th May – London, England

I will be in New Zealand in October.  If you have any contacts in New Zealand who would be interested in hosting a PD in early childhood music and movement, please let me know their contact details and I will contact them direct.  Many thanks.


This is a topic dear to my heart.  As a seven year old, I had a serious accident resulting in permanent cervical spinal damage (neck).  At the time the only concern was concussion, which I didn’t get, and healing the wound.  In my twenties, while playing with my children, I injured my neck.  I went to the doctor, who sent me to the physiotherapist.  That was when I discovered the serious long-term damage I had sustained as a child. This new injury had simply aggravated an existing condition.   That experience began my life-long journey of managing my condition through exercise. Central to this is stretching.  For me it is vital.  To everyone else it is simply therapeutic.  To see me working out at the gym, swimming or conducting an interactive PD, you would never guess I had spinal damage.

Stretching can be done at any time but is recommended following a physical session to allow appropriate ‘cooling down’ of the muscles.  Also, warm muscles respond better to stretching and are less likely to be injured.  Remember that stretches should never hurt but the children should be able to feel a pleasant sensation of reaching as far as their bodies will allow them to comfortably extend. Stretching helps to develop good self-control and body awareness while improving the children’s flexibility.  It may also prevent injury by increasing range of motion.

It is a myth that children have good flexibility.  As with adults, children can be taught stretching and in time their range of motion will gradually increase.  Stretching is actually a vital component of conditioning the body, as vital as warming up, as vital as doing cardio-vascular activity such as running, as vital as muscular endurance activities such as swinging on the monkey bars or lifting something heavy.  It is not an optional extra in other words.  Stretching will actually tire them so they’ll be more inclined to want to do the relaxation afterwards.  In any event, learning how to stretch correctly is a good habit for them to form.  Furthermore, while focusing on what the body is doing, and how that feels, they are learning to slow down and concentrate rather than be bouncing off walls.  Most importantly, this is something that everyone can succeed at.  Not everyone can be good at painting or skipping or throwing and catching, but everyone is familiar with how their body feels when they stretch so everyone can succeed at this.  Poor behaviour is often a result of frustration at lack of skills.  Of course they’ll complain.  What they’re really doing is acknowledging the new sensation.  At first it is unfamiliar but in time you will find them becoming more focused as their bodies adjust.

Ideally, have them lying down on the floor.  You can do standing stretches and if you’re outside, that makes sense but if inside and about to do some relaxation afterwards, then stretching on the floor makes more sense.  Do a full body stretch and hold for a minimum of eight seconds, breathing normally, making sure they stretch fingers and toes.  Point and flex the feet one at a time, holding for eight seconds, and roll the ankles each way.  The important thing to remember with stretching is to make sure the whole body is stretched.  You don’t have to be qualified in physical education to be able to teach stretching.  You just have to know the principles and keep it safe.  There are lots of stretches in the two Kidz-Fiz-Biz books including illustrations so I refer you to them.  If you don’t have access to these materials and you feel unsure of what to do, then just do the full body stretch as mentioned.  You can do no harm and will still be establishing the good habit.  Ideally, incorporate a new stretch each time and gradually build up the repertoire.

Quote of the Week

There is more to life than simply increasing its speed.  (Mahatma Gandhi)


TEACHER: Why are you late?
WEBSTER: Because of the sign.
TEACHER: What sign
WEBSTER: The one that says, “School Ahead, Go Slow.”


As a new Kindy Teacher, I am extremely excited about using Kidz Fiz Biz in my classroom. Having completed the Professional Development workshop two years ago, while working in Middle Primary and Physical Education, I can see the immense benefits that this music and movement program will have in my early childhood classroom. Kidz Fiz Biz caters for children of all abilities; I can already forsee that it will be of great benefit to my students with special needs, as well as extending the music and dance skills of the more capable students in my room. Thank you Marlene for putting together such a wonderful program, and making it easy to follow and use – the essential qualities I look for in any good teaching resource.

Lisa McClue, Kindergarten teacher, Our Lady of Grace, North Beach WA.

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.

57 Henry Lawson Walk, East Perth WA 6004
T: +61 8 9325 1204 M: 0410 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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