Omatas Talent Show June 2015

Creating enquiring minds,

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When we feel as if we have been trying too hard for too long, can we stop for a moment and just go with it?

In the book Kids Beyond Limits, by Anat Baniel, she talks about ‘Movement with Attention’. She says, “Instead of trying to change a movement or behaviour your child is doing, actually support and even exaggerate those movements or actions as they presently are. This helps your child bring his attentioning to what he is doing, thus gaining greater choice and freedom.”

Baniel is illustrating how sometimes children are not aware of what they are doing and by calling their attention to their actions they have the freedom to do something about it.


Movement with Attention

I am struck constantly by the profound, yet simple, statement made by Dr Derek Jackson when I heard him speaking to parents at a meeting. His simple adage was, “If they can, they must.” It was great advice at the time and now that I am assisting children with learning difficulties I see that it is more than great advice, it is seminal. How quickly this can turn into learned helplessness.

When we do too much for our children we allow them to do too little for themselves. It is so easy to get into the trap of tying shoe laces or making their breakfast or choosing their clothes. It is easy to do too much because we are rushed and it is easier to do it ourselves, because we’re tired of asking them to …(clean-up, wash-up, do their project) …, because they have learning challenges so we assist them more than we would normally, etc.


If they can, they must

I read a book last year that I have since recommended to everyone. The thing about this book and how it was enjoyed or not enjoyed by the ‘recommendees’ is that the level of enjoyment depended on whether the book was read over a few days or over a few weeks. You see when read over only a few days the beauty of the story came alive in the descriptions and emotions delivered so uniquely and simply. When the book was read over a few weeks its beauty was lost and only the story line was left behind. The story line was relatively dull and over used but the writing was exquisitely fluid and emotive. You see, the book didn’t change, only the way in which it was delivered to the brain for comprehension.

The way that information goes into our brains effects how it comes out. A simply example of this is when you are not concentrating on instructions being given to you, or when someone is mumbling or speaking too fast. Think back on a time when you were being given directions and the person was constantly correcting themselves. When we get information clearly, coherently and correctly we are more likely to remember it. The same could be true about children with input processing difficulties, how they receive information affects how they process and produce it afterwards.


How are we taught ?

Help, our kids have moved inside! And they’re on the couch again! Perhaps our future does lie in a cognitive realm of body-less brains, but not in my lifetime, nor, I suspect, in my children’s either. So indoors is out and outdoors must come back in. But why?

According to Daniel Kahneman in his book, Thinking, Fast and Slow, “Cognition is embodied. You think with your body, not only with your mind.” So how our bodies function must affect our minds and how we think. It is not a big leap to understand this especially when you consider how your mouth waters at the thought of biting into a fresh, yellow, sour lemon.

According to Vanessa Richardson in A Fit Body Means a Fit Mind, “For starters, aerobic exercise pumps more blood throughout the body, including to the brain. More blood means more oxygen and, therefore, better-nourished brain tissue.” Exercise for children doesn’t have to be structured, they get more of a workout playing catchers with their friends than running on a treadmill. Children need fun ways to develop balance, laterality, flexibility, motor skills, body concepts, relaxation and self-control.


Why all the fuss about exercise  ?

The power of ..... Yet !

Benefits of a Growth Mindset

Anat Baniel, The Nine Essentials

Anat Baniel & Parents Respond:

Are You Trying to Make Your Child "Normal"?

Sir Ken Robinson : Do schools kill creativity ?

The Woman Who Changed Her Brain: Barbara Arrowsmith-Young at TEDxToronto

NeuroNet Learing