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“WHITTLE” & MOVEMENT EDUCATION

July 18, 2017

Movement education should never be looked upon as a general free for all.  It is a form of physical education with a most emphatic purpose, which is to encourage the child to think independently by fulfilling the task or instruction given to the class.  Success in Movement Education requires each child to have a basic movement vocabulary, which the children must learn first.  One must not assume that every student knows how to skip or what the difference is between hopping and jumping.

 

A movement vocabulary is developed over a period of time.  It can most effectively be practiced through simple tasks like moving around the gym, or going over, under or through various parts of equipment setups that are available.  The next step is combining tasks such as going over something then through a small opening and leading the movement with the feet without standing on them.  Note that the instructor is not describing how to do the movement, but only suggesting what to do.  The interpretation is left entirely to the imagination of each child.  All children are fully involved in performing the task.  The advanced child is free to use his/her ingenuity and skill while the shy and awkward child can achieve success by completing the task in plenty of time without being hurried.  Every student has the potential of performing well and being publicly praised.

 

From here on tasks may become more goal-oriented and turned into more skillful movement and gymnastic activities.  A sequence of single tasks and movement combinations may provide a fair amount of complexity.  It will demand concentration and an ongoing decision making process.  The level of difficulty is generally left up to the child or the group of children interacting with each other.  Tasks may be presented as partner activities where two students mirror each other’s movements.  This type of training helps children learn to be leaders as well as followers.  Conversely, movement may be presented for the purpose of identifying the task.  In all cases, movement always begins on the floor exploring two dimensions.  The third dimension, in its most obvious form, will be explored on equipment.

 

The apparatus used must be capable of fulfilling every purpose required in movement education.  It should provide many levels, spaces and options to express the task with variety.  The teacher should be able to disconnect and reconnect the equipment, changing the layout and the challenge connected with it.  The equipment and combinations thereof should only be limited to the imaginations of the instructor.  A setup must be created to encourage a child to think independently - to find a “Movement Answer” and to respond to the instructions spontaneously.  If the apparatus can provide the teacher with the appropriate movement environment, is considered safe and sturdy, folds up for easy storage and is mobile enough for indoor and outdoor use, then it may be considered a smart buy whatever the price may be.

 

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