Be Gym Ready at School
IS YOUR CHILD KINDERGARTEN GYM READY?
Transitioning from preschool to elementary school can be overwhelming for both the child and the parents. Children who begin kindergarten with a solid foundation and knowledge base will have a much easier time adjusting to their school day. However, those who haven’t had any academic and motor training can make their transition difficult and at times embarrassing . Meeting a new teacher, riding a bus to an unfamiliar place, meeting new friends , learning and adjusting to new routines and functioning in a class of 20-25 students are other challenges all children face when they enter Kindergarten.
These children are also required to perform at a certain age level in order to be competitive with their classmates. The pressures and stresses of completing can make the child quite uncomfortable.
A quick assessment and step-by-step guide below will help your child gain confidence and perform all the basic motor skills necessary to enter into their Kindergarten physical education program.
Locomotor and manipulative skills are two areas of motor development needed for the child to advance into more complex types of movements when participating in future activities (sports & dance).
Locomotor skill is a physical movement that allows an individual to go from one place to the other using large muscle contractions. Kids should practice these movements while experimenting with changes in speed and direction. Including music in the background will help them to develop rhythm and help them to become creative with each step.
Manipulative skills involve projecting and receiving objects using the hands or feet to complete a task. These skills help a child to develop their eye-hand and eye-foot coordination.
LET’S CHECK TO SEE IF YOUR CHILD CAN PASS THE SKILLS TEST!
Below is a chart to help you keep track of your child’s progress.
Key: place a checkmark next to each skill that your child has mastered under each column.
When you see Body Check below, this will help your child, step by step, break down the skill to its simplest form, from the start of the movement to the completion of each movement.
LOCOMOTOR SKILLS – Movement from one spot to another.
Can your child bend their knees, and push off with both of their feet jumping up into the air and back down landing on both feet at the same time?
Body Check to make sure you…….
- START: standing up with a slight bend at both the knees and waist, arms behind body.
- MOVEMENT: bring arms forward and jump up off the floor pushing off with the balls of the feet extending both knees and waist.
- FINISH: Land on both feet at the same time bringing arms back to one’s side and letting the knees and waist bend slightly.
ADAPTATION: If your child can’t jump in place, help him/her by lifting up on the balls of their feet and repeat several times, OR help them jump off the bottom step in your house. Jumping down is a progression step towards jumping in place and jumping forward.
Can your child balance on their dominant foot for 8-10 seconds? This is the first stage of hopping. Once they can balance, see if they can slightly bend their hopping knee and push off with the ball of their foot hopping in place a few times.
- START: stand on your dominant foot and slightly bending the knee. Arms are relaxed by the sides.
- MOVEMENT: extend the leg and push off the ball of the foot hopping up into the air.
- FINISH: land on the ball of the foot with a slight bend of the knee.
ADAPTATION: If your child is unable to hop in place, you may want to hold their hands OR have them place their hands on a wall to practice the movement.
Galloping is a rhythmic movement allowing one foot to lead in front of the other.
- START: Stand tall with arms relaxed by your side.
- MOVEMENT: step forward with your dominant or preferred foot. Knees should be slightly bent throughout the movement.
- FINISH: bring the other foot forward, so it’s slightly behind the preferred foot. Make sure your hips face forward while you’re galloping.
- Repeat the steps above with your non-dominant foot leading.
ADAPTATION: If your child is having difficulty galloping, ask him/her to place their preferred foot forward, reach out with both hands in front of them, making sure their toes, belly, and eyes are facing forward.
Skipping is an extension of galloping. Skipping requires you to allow your arms and legs to inhibit oppositional movements.
- START -Standing tall with arms relaxed by your side.
- MOVEMENT -Step and hop with the right foot, and bring your right arm forward.
- FINISH – Step and hop with the left foot; bring your left arm forward.
ADAPTATION: A good teaching tool to help a child skip is by playing appropriate rhythmic music for the movement. Hold their hand and skip with them while you say the words “step hop, step hop” several times. They’ll feel how you are executing the skill and learn as you move with them.
MANIPULATIVE SKILLS – Projecting and receiving objects (ball)
Catching is a more difficult skill that requires tracking the object first and them coordinating both hands to catch the ball at the same time.
- START: Stand tall with one foot slightly in front of the other. Bring arms and hands forward shoulder width apart with palms facing each other.
- MOVEMENT: as the ball is approaching, move feet toward the direction of the ball, reach arms out towards the ball and bring hands together to catch the ball.
- FINISH: bring the ball in towards the body and place feet comfortably down on the floor shoulder width apart.
ADAPTATION: If your child is having a difficult time catching, stand close to him/her and pass the ball back and forth. Gradually increase the distance with each successful toss.
Most if not all children love to throw. They like to see how far and how accurate their throw can be.
- START: standing tall looking at the target.
- MOVEMENT: with the ball in your dominant hand, reach your arm overhead with the elbow bent and up away from the body. At the same time, step with the non-dominant foot forward.
- FINISH: Bring the arm forward and release pointing your arm towards the target. Follow-through with the arm, so it crosses over the body.
ADAPTATION: If your child is having a difficult time throwing or releasing the ball, see if they can stand close to a basket and begin by dropping the ball into the basket. If they are successful, gradually increase their distance from the basket.
Kicking is an all-time favorite for many children. The game was invented by the supervisor of the Cincinnati Parks and Recreation, Nicholas C. Seuss and was introduced into the school’s curriculum in the early 1920’s.
- START: Run towards the ball.
- MOVEMENT: step beside the ball with your non-dominant foot. At the same time, bend the knee of the dominant leg bringing the leg behind you.
- FINISH: Quickly swing the dominant leg forward kicking the ball and follow-through swinging the leg up in front.
ADAPTATION: The skill should be done in one consecutive movement with no pauses in between. If they are having a difficult time kicking a moving ball. Place the ball stationary 5-8 feet in front of them. Instruct them to run towards the ball and kick it working on their form.