I’m currently working as an intern on a research project regarding physical activity with children aged 0 – 5. The researchers, Dr Kristy Howells and Dr Catherine Meehan have been working hard to come up with a list of the 6 areas they believe are of importance when children are taking part in physical activity.
The 6 c’s are listed below:
We are using an online questionnaire to collect data in regards to how physical activity is currently viewed in schools. The results from this will then be analysed and used to produce a set of guidelines for practitioners to follow in order to improve the levels of physical activity in schools and other settings.
The National Curriculum in the UK states that children should complete sustained physical activity and the NHS guidelines 2013 proposed at least 180 minutes of physical activity a day for young children. This is something many settings are falling short on which is why we feel that something needs to be done.
I spent the first week of my internship focused on conducting a literature review of the 6 c’s. 15, 000 words later it was clear that there was a lot of research out there. However, there was more research for some of the 6c’s in comparison to the others. My general findings were that research tended to focus on older children aged 6+ as well as little focus being placed on research into confidence, concentration and competence.
If you yourself are a practitioner or work with children in a school or activity setting then please get in touch as I would love to hear your views.
Below is a link to the online questionnaire which takes approximately 10 to 20 minutes to fill in:
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The classroom isn’t for all children.
I just finished watching a programme called ‘The Tiny Tots Talent Agency’ and was blown away by the enthusiasm one of the children had for Musical Theatre. The young boy had ADHD and Autism which prevented him from going to mainstream school which resulted in his mother home schooling him. The mother explained how if she made her lessons active her son would be engaged but, as soon as a lesson involved picking up a pen and writing, he had no interest. What fascinated me was how much potential the boy had in dance. Instead of being cooped up in a classroom, the mother followed her sons dream to perform and enrolled him in part time dance lessons. Unlike in school, the boy excelled. He was praised. He was aloud to be loud. He was aloud to dance whenever he wanted. He was happy.
The programme follows him as he attends an audition at the prestigious London dance school – Pineapple Dance Studios. It is evident that he loves what he is doing and is happy to be there so it’s no surprise he is awarded a place. The theatre school focuses purely on Musical Theatre with no formal academic lesson given.
What particularly captured me about this story was that in school the boy was seen as a failure and unwilling to learn but as soon as he was dancing and being active, all the troubles went away. It made me think how many children out there are simply misunderstood. Yes, education is important but, for some children being active holds more importance. I’m not saying that children shouldn’t be taught to read and write but what I am saying is that more children need to be given the chance to excel in non – academic areas. If schools were to place more of an emphasis on sports, physical education, music, drama and dance then I feel that more children would feel as though they are achieving highly in something. Some are good at maths whilst others are good at drama. Too much of an emphasis is placed on academic skills but there is more to life than times tables. Let children be active. Classes don’t need to be restricted to sitting at a desk, take children outside, let them run free and see what they discover in the environment around them.
I attended a lecture this morning based on intelligence and became fascinated with Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligence. When you are asked to name someone ‘intelligent’ people often state names such as Einstein or Stephen Hawking who have incredibly high IQ scores. The same IQ tests have been used for generations and it is believed that those who perform best on these tests are the most intelligent. However, Gardner’s theory states how there are in fact multiple forms of intelligence including:
- Verbal – linguistic
- Logical – mathematical
- Bodily – kinaesthetic
- Visual – spatial
- Musical – rhythmic
He argues that intelligence isn’t just about maths and academic ability. It comes in many forms and some people display aspects of intelligence for areas such as interpersonal intelligence which relies heavily on the ability to listen and cooperate with others. Emotional intelligence is somewhat overlooked in the field of intelligence but is actually one of the most important forms of intelligence a person can possess. Emotional intelligence is also said to be a greater predictor than IQ in terms of job prospects. At around the age of 3 children learn a concept known as ‘Theory of Mind’. This is the idea of understanding that others thought processes and views can differ from your own. Without this ability children and adults would struggle to understand those around them hence why it holds such importance.
Gardner states how schools and the education system could learn a lot from his theory. He suggests that children should not all be taught in the same may but rather should be educated according to their strengths, for example, if a child has high bodily – kinaesthetic intelligence then they tend to have strength, endurance and enjoy moving around rather than being sat at a desk for 7 hours a day. Gardener also states how we simply teach children too much, he explains it as ‘a mile wide and an inch thick’, we don’t tend to teach children anything in great detail but rather touch upon subjects and move on in order to satisfy the curriculum. In order for children to truly tap into their intelligence we need to provide them with less information but at a greater level of detail. In order to do this more time needs to be spent on music, dance, sport and nature rather than an emphasis being placed upon maths and science.
The video below shows Gardner himself explaining his theory in more depth: