Gymbaroo for Preschoolers
GymbaROO for 3 to 4 Year Olds
A quality preschool program for our children is essential, but a neurologically based program like GymbaROO, can ensure your child is ready for learning. Preschool and GymbaROO offer very different learning experiences.
GymbaROO for 3-4 year olds is so much fun. The children are now more independent on the equipment and ready for new and exciting challenges. Their hand-eye-foot coordination has improved so that these skills can be developed. As parents stay and participate in the class, they have the opportunity to have one-on-one time to practice these skills (giving parents lots of terrific ideas for at-home activities). The added concentration and co-ordination allows us to introduce lots of new activities and treasure bag time becomes a wonderful opportunity for language development. There is so much to do that these classes run for 1 hour.
At approximately 3 years of age, the brain has completed one of the most important stages of development, that of integration, without which, reading and writing become very difficult. This essential neurological development is encouraged through special activities incorporated into our classes. Secondary themes including visual and auditory stimulation are also a feature of these classes.
Mat time still starts with the hello song but the activities are more challenging. They focus on memory skills, sequencing, relays, dance routines, throwing, catching, hitting and especially on neurological skills which get the brain ready for learning at school. Physical skills are mastered so that they are pushed into the automatic part of the brain leaving the children free to think and process while they are doing each activity.
Motor planning and extended challenges are the features for this age group. Instead of jumping on the trampoline they may practise star jumps, sideways jumps, jumping over a rope or jumping and catching. Task cards give guidance to carers on how best to challenge their child on each piece of equipment.
Music & Parachute Time
The session concludes with rhythm and music time. The focus here is on activities that encourage thinking skills, laterality skills and directionality skills. The activities encourage thinking and moving at the same time.
Neuro Developmental Milestones
Possums: 3-4 years
• Jumps forwards and backwards and side to side
• Hops on each leg, though one leg is usually easier
• Marches in a cross pattern style
• Swings under overhead ladder with minimal support
• Participates in exercises sessions with little parental assistance
• Walks up and down stairs using alternating feet to a step
• Throws ball overhand, cross pattern
• Kicks ball forcibly
• Rides a tricycle expertly
• Holds pencil with mature pencil grip
• Copies crosses, circles, lines
• Draws person – arms and legs usually come from the head with no trunk
• Uses scissors
• Loves make believe and pretend play
• Follows 3-4 part instructions
• Easily changes sides for crocodiles
• Tic tocs forward and backwards
School Readiness Classes
From 4 years of age, or the year before starting school.
This class is exactly what it is called. The program looks at what children need to have mastered to successfully start school, and ensures that each child has the opportunity to do this.
School Readiness Classes at GymbaROO can benefit your child by helping them develop:
- Listening skills and the ability to follow directions
- Social skills such as turn-taking, co-operation and the ability to function as part of a group
- Positive self esteem and confidence in a group situation
- Self help skills eg independence and recognition of belongings
- Strong hands and fingers (& backs & arms) ready for writing
- Visual and language skills ready for reading
- Awareness of pattern and rhythm ready for maths
- Well developed balance, co-ordination and gross motor skills to help ensure your child’s brain and body is ready for learning
Parents are actively involved in our School Readiness classes as it gives them the opportunity to see how their child masters the various challenges, and then which skills need to be practiced at home. In term 1 we concentrate on essential co-ordination skills, term 2 auditory and locomotion skills, term 3 visual and laterality skills, and term 4 consolidates earlier learning. Not only is this a wonderful opportunity for parents to see how their child is coping, it may be the last opportunity you have to participate with your child in an activity, before you are delegated to a taxi driver only. This time with your child, the last year before school, is as precious as that first year of life. We call our School Readiness children our emus, as they love running fast with an adult rather than toddler gait.
Skills concentrated on include finger awareness, handedness, laterality, balance, directionality, spatial and body awareness, and listening and following instructions. Did you know that to copy a letter from a whiteboard or smartboard, children need tactile and body awareness, good posture and balance, clear auditory perception, the ability to visualise, accurate vision, fine motor co-ordination, hand-eye coordination and temporal awareness? Every activity in our School Readiness class ensures these skills are being practised.
Neuro Developmental Milestones
Emus: School Readiness
• Marches in cross pattern with rhythm and flow
• Hops smoothly on either leg, forwards, backwards and sideways
• Skips along smoothly
• Swings along under the overhead ladder with rhythm and control – ideally without assistance
• Begins to read and write
• Knows several nursery rhymes and can sing accurately
• Enjoys jokes. Loves stories
• Speech can easily be understood by adults
• Speaks in full sentences and loves conversation
• Loves dramatic and make believe play
• Loves games
• Draws a full person with mature pencil grip (dynamic tripod grasp)
• Brings thumb in opposition to each finger in turn, left and right
• Rides a 2 wheel bike (some may still need training wheels)
• Changes sides in cross lateral crocodile position smoothly and efficiently
• Can follow complicated 3-4 part instructions
• Can inhibit impulses
The word flash in the younger classes is extended into a time of word recognition, word games and sentence construction. This builds over the year and is a favourite time for the children.
This age lines up to do the equipment. Apart from the important social skills being developed, the children are expected to tackle each piece of equipment how the teacher suggests. This demands good listening and processing skills, challenging motor planning, and ensures each child makes the most of every piece of equipment. They may be asked to climb a ladder backwards, turn around and cross-over walk to the end of the beam, then slide backwards head first to the mat. Once the circuit is complete they are free to explore at will.
Music and Parachute Time
The session finishes with music and rhythm and parachute games. There is usually much fun and laughter as each challenge is completed in every child’s unique style.