When Fundamental Movement Is Not Fundamental

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

Kidz Newz #163 – 10 October 2017

Welcome to Kidz Newz, especially all new subscribers – including those from the recent GESS Educational Conference in Jakarta. 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.

Kidz-Fiz-Biz Workshop – Perth Western Australia

For those of you in Western Australia, specifically Perth, I will be joining forces with the Move to Learn team to present a workshop on integrating music and movement in the classroom to facilitate learning. Engaged brains, brains that are properly switched on, learn better. Music enhances this. This will be held at the SKAMP Centre (Schools of the Kalamunda Area Motor Program) in Kalamunda on 21st October. Click Here to access the flyer and book in.

When Fundamental Movement Is Not Fundamental

I have written many times about the importance of movement (Kidz Newz numbers 62, 71, 72, 112, 139, 148 and especially 154 – go to the archive to access any of these. Nevertheless, it is worth defining it more closely. It is often assumed that when children do daily fitness or dance or sport and especially playing in the playground that they are getting plenty of essential physical stimulation. It often comes as a surprise to some when children with learning difficulties who get sent to a paediatric OT get given really basic movement activities to perform. So, what’s the link? As the Move to Learn team show, if there was a milestone missing in a child’s development such as no crawling or insufficient crawling (this is the most common but there are plenty of others) that the cross-patterning that was missed or insufficiently stimulated has caused insufficient neural connections, hence the child may have learning difficulties. This is a simple overview for something that is more complex but I am simplifying the concept deliberately. It is assumed that ‘all children can roll, crawl, balance, run, jump, gallop and skip’. No, they can’t ALL do any such thing. This is where some of our fitness programs at school fail the children. It is assumed the Fundamental Movement Programs are fundamental but they are not. All some of these fitness programs do for some children is to make them feel more inadequate than they already do. It is certainly true that with practice, most children will improve their skills. I have seen that myself with children whose skills develop immeasurably in only ten weeks at one session per week. Those who still can’t manage the basics after two terms get referred to a paediatric OT (if the parent will take them!). When the teacher has 30 or so children to observe, and especially given they are not aware, in most cases, of what to look for, it is easy to see how these children ‘slip through the cracks’.  For example, you need to be aware of how significant it is that a child can’t maintain a gallop or a skip for a short distance without doing their own variation of it or can’t do straddle jumps with both feet taking off and landing parallel for just a few metres, or can’t jump up and down on the spot with both feet taking off and landing simultaneously. These physical skills do matter. They are significant. They indicate a co-ordination problem that is neurological in origin and this is likely to have an effect on their ability to concentrate and learn. Far from criticising teachers, instead I am suggesting that they pay more attention to movement. It is an important part of a child’s day but often its significance isn’t recognized. It is not just about fitness.

If you observe children in your midst who can’t concentrate, can’t sit still without fidgeting, can’t sit up straight but have to slump across the desk or lean on a hand, can’t do any activity involving sequence, for example, then take a closer look when they are doing specific physical activities, especially music and movement. Music will certainly help them to be more fluid and rhythmic but they may still need more ‘fundamental’ skills development such as those promoted by Move to Learn.

If you would like to know more about the exercises in Move to Learn, specifically the book 10 Gems for the Brain, go here.

If you are in Perth, you can be introduced to the program on Saturday 21st October. Access the flyer here.

Meantime, have fun with your kids and get them moving!

Remember that these neural pathways don’t magically fix themselves but are often present throughout the person’s life if there’s no intervention. A sedentary adult becomes an even more sedentary senior citizen, with disastrous consequences. Get them moving!

Quotes of the Week

I’m learning what to do in order to do it.
– Picasso.

To know and not do is not to know.
– Source unknown

The greatest change comes from the greatest challenge.
Source unknown

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed; second, it is violently opposed; and third, it is accepted as self-evident.
– Arthur Schopenhauer


From EYES Conference Perth 2016:

Fun, but be aware of your own limitations e.g. to avoid injury especially if you’re a twilight teacher. (Makybe Rise PS – PP)

Most enjoyable – engaging – children will love it. Combines music, movement and learning. (North Mandurah PS – Yr 1)

Refreshing and fun. Easy to use in the classroom. (Anne Earnshaw, City Beach PS)

Longer would have been fabulous. (Sarah Fullerton, Winterfold PS – Yr 1/2)

Well done – thanks – my class will love it! (Leah Temme, Walpole PS – Yr 1/2)

Very worthwhile. It was wonderful. (Jean Hilt, Lake Monger PS)

Thanks for opening up the whole concept of using scarves – also good for a Friday afternoon today! (Anne Stanaway, Yr 1) 


Poor Grandma! Maybe she needs lots more rolling on the floor with this toddler! Then again, maybe not. I can relate!

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: info@kidzfizbiz.com

Enjoying Kidz Newz?

Perhaps a friend or colleague would enjoy it too!  Add their contact address and click “Forward”. (Be sure to include this entire message, including the subscription details) By doing this you will help us grow.

Looking for lots of ideas? Visit the Kidz Newz archive where you will find back issues of Kidz Newz.

Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, subscribe to our blog for more interesting information, articles and discussions or connect with Marlene on Linked In.


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

Marlene Rattigan, Editor
Kidz Newz

{tag_subscribe} if you would like to stop receiving these advices.

Item added to cart.
0 items - $0.00