Helping children develop to their full potential through perceptual-motor experiences
Educators who want to help children develop to their full potential must educate the whole child by addressing physical, mental, and emotional needs. Many programs at elementary schools focus on academic and emotional development, but how many address children’s physical development?
Jump over the noodles, taking off and landing with both feet. Each time you jump, say a letter of the alphabet starting at the beginning. Continue in alphabetical order and see how many times you can say the whole alphabet in three minutes.
Develop laterality, locomotor skills, and motor planning
Using jump ropes or tape on the floor, create a series of lines in a pattern similar to that of spokes on a wheel (see diagram). Place active learning cards (in any order) in each space between the lines.
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Perceptual-Motor Activities for Children: An Evidence-Based Guide to Building Physical and Cognitive Skills provides a proven blueprint for improving perceptual-motor skills—the skills that require young learners to use their brains and their bodies together to accomplish tasks. When kids improve these skills, they not only improve their coordination and increase their body awareness but they also enhance their intellectual skills and gain a more positive self-image.
This easy-to-use guide outlines a 32-week program of sequential station activities that will help pre-K and elementary school-aged children in various stages of development, particularly those who are lagging behind in their perceptual-motor skills. Developed and piloted by two educators who have refined the program since 2004, this program provides all you need to create a perceptual-motor learning laboratory for your students. The book and accompanying web resource include
• 200 station activities;
• evidence-based research proving the program’s effectiveness in improving physical and cognitive skills;
• complete instructions for creating a perceptual-motor learning laboratory in a variety of learning environments;
• expert guidance in developing lateral skills, balance, body image, tracking skills, spatial relations, locomotor skills, and manipulative skills; and
• activity cards for all the activities in the book, extra activities not found in the book, full-color active learning cards to be used in the activities, a record sheet, and audio tracks.
The station activities are purposeful and can be sequenced for building a lab or used independently for targeted skill development. They are formatted as activity cards that may be posted at the stations for easy reference. The activity cards include instructions and illustrations to help you set up quickly as well as skill criteria to enable you to informally assess your students’ performances. With the activity cards handy, volunteers and even student aides can easily help with setting up and monitoring readily available activities.
If you want to use the activities in sequence, you can access four eight-week sets of lessons, progressing from bilateral skills to unilateral to cross-lateral to a combination of skills. The program enables kids to participate in the lab at least four times a week for 30 minutes per session. It also takes you through a screening process to assess current skills and needs, helping you identify students who are most at risk and establish baselines for measuring improvements.
The web resource includes all of the book’s activity cards that you may download and print as needed as well as extra activities not included in the book. The record sheet on the web resource can be saved to an electronic device so you can customize it for use with your students. Audio tracks are a powerful tool for managing the transitions between stations.
Perceptual-Motor Activities for Children will help you guide children in developing lateral skills, balance, positive body image, tracking skills, spatial relations, locomotor skills, and manipulative skills. In doing so, children will improve not only their physical skills but their emotional, social, and cognitive skills as well.
Reference for pre-K, kindergarten, and elementary physical education and adapted physical education teachers. Also a reference for directors, administrators, and classroom teachers, as well as a supplemental resource for college courses in motor learning and development and curriculum or methods courses.
Jill A. Johnstone and Molly Ramon are elementary physical education teachers in San Antonio, Texas. Between the two of them, they have nearly 50 years of experience teaching physical education as well as 7 years of research, development, and implementation of perceptual-motor learning laboratories in public school settings. They have made presentations and taught workshops on the perceptual-motor activities program at the district, state, and national levels.
Their program has been tested in public schools and reviewed by professors at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Jill and Molly have trained teachers and monitored labs at more than 45 schools, assisting with the implementation of the program. They are members of the Texas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance and the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. Jill enjoys reading, hiking, and kayaking; Molly enjoys coaching, reading, and spending time with her family.