Freedom to move
Too often we have heard it say “ how will children be able to sit still at school, if we don’t get them to sit still in Early Years?” WE cannot teach a child to sit still by making them sit still!
Sitting STILL is not something that can be taught. The more a child does it - doesn’t increase their ability to sit, all it does is train them to conform and comply In fact, it triggers those primal instincts that drive a child to MOVE regardless. A child cannot think, listen, hear and be expected to learn, if their brain is totally pre occupied and focused on just trying to keep STILL!
At Curiosity Approach® settings we understand the impact of an ever increasing sedentary life style for young children and the importance of movement for development. We understand the natural unfolding development of the child. One of the many way we ensure children have full opportunity to MOVE is by removing the restrictions!
By removing the chairs!
Curiosity Approach® settings DON’T have chairs set out around traditional nursery tables. We make a conscious, mindful decision to put the chairs away, to stack and store the chairs during the day. We then, actively bring them back out at meal times, the snack table and placing specific chairs at our free marking table or for dramatic play. Yes, it takes extra effort and yes it’s an additional job to complete, but at Curiosity Approach® settings we recognise the importance of movement!
We give 100% to create optimal opportunities for the children we serve.
Yes, to begin with children will want to drag the chairs back - this is because they have become accustomed to sitting down! Let’s face it change takes time for everyone to get used to these new routines and to release children’s reliance and dependence on chairs. Without chairs, the children are moving! They are given the opportunity to develop core strength, strengthening muscles, balance, the vestibular system, power, senses, coordination and control and the integration of postural reflexes.
Allow children to work at different heights and levels, to become grounded if working on the floor, settled, stable and secure.The ability to stretch and move, to cross the midline and move the whole body as they play! Let’s remember we cannot teach a child to sit still, by sitting still.
Let’s reflect, how sedentary are the children in your setting? How much time do they spend sat on their bottoms ? Sat on the carpet for formal adult led circle time, sat on chairs to participate in activities, sat down to paint, colour, build, construct or read?
Let’s face it, in modern-day culture, chairs have become an integral part of our daily lives. From homes to Early Years settings, to the classroom, we spend a significant amount of time sitting down. However, the use of chairs in our daily routines has had a profound impact on our health and well-being, especially when it comes to early years children's gross motor development.
Research has shown that sitting for prolonged periods of time can lead to a wide range of health problems, including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and poor posture. A sedentary lifestyle in early years children can lead to difficulties in developing gross motor skills, which are essential for controlling the large muscles of the body for activities such as running, jumping, and climbing. Children who do not have the opportunity to develop these skills may struggle with coordination and balance, leading to potential problems with posture and overall physical health.
The book 'Wired to Move' by Ruth Hanford Morhard highlights the importance of movement in Early Years children's development. https://www.ruthhanfordmorhard... book emphasises that movement is a primal urge, and that children need to move in a variety of ways to develop their mind, body, and spirit. Children who are encouraged to move and explore their bodies develop better cognitive function, emotional regulation, and overall health and well-being.
Moreover, research has shown that movement and physical activity can enhance cognitive function and improve academic performance. A study published in the Journal of School Health found that physical activity was positively associated with academic achievement in math and reading. Therefore, it is essential to incorporate movement and physical activity into early years children's daily routines to promote their overall development and well being.
As early years educators, we have a responsibility to provide children with opportunities to move and explore their bodies in a variety of ways. This involves creating environments that encourage movement and provide a variety of experiences where children, sit, sand, squat, or work at various levels. These options allow children to choose how they want to sit and move throughout the day, promoting a sense of autonomy and independence.
In conclusion, chairs have become a dominating presence in our daily lives, but their impact on early years children's health and well-being cannot be ignored. It is crucial that we recognise the importance of movement for early years children's physical, emotional, and cognitive development. By creating environments that encourage movement and providing a variety of seating options, we can promote early years children's overall development, independence, autonomy and wellbeing.
Let us embrace movement and provide our early years children with the tools they need to thrive and flourish.
Want MORE? Come watch our FREEDOM TO MOVE - TEAM GATHERING
This is a 60 minute CPD session for you and your team. With informative downloads, PDFS for educators and facilitators.
- Hanford Morhard, R. (2019). Wired to Move: Facts and Strategies for Nurturing Boys in Early Childhood. Redleaf Press.
- Tremblay, M. S., LeBlanc, A. G., Kho, M. E., Saunders, T. J., Larouche, R., Colley, R. C., ... & Gorber, S. C. (2011). Systematic review of sedentary