Wednesday is PMP day for preps at Narre Warren North Primary School.
Each week six different stations of equipment are set up in the multipurpose room, with an adult manning each station. The children are divided into teams, with a different team leader each week.
Today I facilitated at the ‘Rockers’ station and substation.
While two children had a turn on the body rocker under my careful instruction, the others worked on their balance on individual rockers. Actually they were working on more than balance; there was also listening, memory and applying the instructions to balance in the middle, then to tip the rocker forward, back to the middle, then left, back to the middle position, backward, middle, forwards, middle – working their way around in a slow and controlled manner.
Those on the bigger body rocker (like a see-saw) had to listen and follow instructions to let the person on the lower end get on first and off last (we didn’t want anyone to go flying).
Once they were positioned on the rocker with crossed legs and holding onto the ropes that were strung along each side, they had to communicate with each other as they worked to balance the rocker so that neither side was on the ground.
Last time I was on the ‘Balance Board’ station, with a quoits substation for the rest of the team to work on while I gave one to one instruction to each in turn. The photo shows this weeks configuration which has a different substation.
The balance board is wheeled like a skateboard, but wider and flatter. I instructed the child to lie on their tummy with their torso on the balance board and their legs and feet off the floor. They were allowed to manoeuvre the board by using their hands only.
I gave them two beanbags that they had to deposit in coloured hula hoops in the order that I told them. Before they moved to do it they had to repeat the colour sequence back to me.
All the children were keen to try all exercises and followed through with varying success. As the adult, it was not my job to assess their attempts, but to facilitate by instructing clearly and concisely, ensuring they were using the equipment safely and modifying the activity in response to their success. And to encourage with positive words and a smile.
The program aims to improve the children’s fitness and balance, eye-hand co-ordination and self confidence, and to develop their skills in strategising, listening and retelling, memory, understanding concepts, communication and co-operation and keeping their eye on the goal.
It occurs to me that these would be useful exercises for Arts practitioners to do, too. The outcomes would equip us well for working individually or collaboratively to produce our work.
But how would we get the participants together? Perhaps on a writers’ or artists’ retreat.
Would you give it a go?