A perspective from our Early Years physical education teacher, Laurence Trengove, on the benefits of movement for our youngest students.
During their time spent in our Early Years Community, we see children’s social, physiological, neurological, emotional, and intellectual growth intertwine. Movement is a vital factor in securing the development and connection within and between each of these areas. It is key to a happy and successful school life.
At ISZL, we want children to find joy through movement and we structure outdoor play, physical education classes, swimming lessons, and our forest experiences to ensure children’s neurological pathways are becoming ever-stronger and more efficient.
The importance of physical movement
In offering a wide range of engaging physical and sensory experiences, children begin to search out evermore complex challenges for themselves with increasing confidence. During their physical education class, we listen to the children’s ideas, their opinions, and interests and ask how we can extend or simplify the games and activities to make them either more challenging or more accessible for them and for their peers.
In this way, our children feel a sense of control over their rate and style of physical development, which has been found to be an integral part in active participation for today and tomorrow and ensures that the children in the Early Years Community can go on to display their creative and academic potential now and into their future.
Our role in suggesting the ideal spaces and the possible tools available, supports students to develop their interests over time. It is this dynamic quality of student-directed learning, which takes children on a personal journey of curiosity, creativity, research, and reflection. This is one of the elements that makes every day in our Early Years community so unique. Listening to the wonder in the child’s voice as they formulate fresh ideas in their minds, gives us the raw material to continue to strengthen what we offer year on year.
We are very fortunate at ISZL to be in such a beautiful location that provides rich and varied learning environments. Our children have access to:
- Our purposefully designed Early Years playground
- Our Early Years garden, pond and orchard
- Our Early Years gymnasium
- The local swimming pool complex with indoor and outdoor purpose-built spaces for young children
- Numerous local forest sites
In these environments, the ISZL Early Years children can create their physical, psychological and social boundaries so they can confidently and safely push against them, to build more expansive mindsets and greater physical prowess.
During Outdoor Learning and PE lessons children begin to understand that social and physical rules exist to support a safer and happier environment for them. The activities and experiences that are developed in Early Years PE have been carefully selected to gently enhance all aspects of a child’s development. The importance of these connections is seen when the students begin their swimming programme in Kindergarten. By drawing on their PE experiences of movements, shapes, and rhythms they can transfer these known and named postures into the water, which helps them to take that important leap into a new, watery world!
Forest Education at ISZL
The local forest offers learning engagements that only natural settings can authentically provide. Here students are introduced to fire safety, water safety, and the many forest animals that live there. From these experiences, discussions develop about the water cycle, the science of fire, seasonal changes, natural materials and why certain forest animals look and behave the way they do.
Conversations about animal adaptations are played out in games in which students can mirror the animals’ behaviour. As moles, they are encouraged to locate objects only using their sense of touch and hearing. As squirrels, they explore the importance of successfully hiding food. As magpies, they learn the importance of teamwork. Each of the forest animals they encounter in some way reinforces a sense of empathy for the natural world and also the sensorial processes that are working hard for them and us in our day-to-day existence.
Children are competent and capable learners
During their time in our Early Years, we see the children develop as competent and capable learners within our whole community. Joy in movement aids this development. This became clear during last year’s local Fasnacht celebrations. Together, the teachers and children were lining up to face hundreds of people, who were lining the streets of Baar to watch the children’s parade. With the children, who were dressed as trees, I could sense a mixture of excitement, self-consciousness and a little fear! Then, as we set off, the onlookers smiles grew and grew and the cheers became increasingly louder. I turned around to see, marching behind me in their self-made costumes, sixty little trees bursting with pride and joy at who they were, and what, as a collective, they represented.
If you are interested to learn more about the benefits of the IB Primary Years Programme at ISZL, please continue to read here.
- Early Years
- Forest School
- physical education
- Recommended Reading Early Years