Join us for our first public event since March! Wednesday morning, Oct. 14th. We are partnering with Music in Communities to present a fun, creative activity of music and movement. Since the number of people we can accommodate is restricted, please contact the email on the poster or to sign up. Note the new location.
Two sets of video “lessons” are now available on the website. The first set of five lessons will take you through a process of skill development using bean bags. As explained in the previous post, these skills help build capacity for academic learning. Parents and teachers are free to use the videos however they like: you can first learn the exercises then teach them to your children/students, or you can learn them together. The videos are accompanied by a text version.
The second set of five lessons demonstrates working with a partner.
I have included a page of verses to choose from to get you started, and a page on modifications if you are working with someone more challenged. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
We are launching a series of videos to help and inspire parents and teachers bring some fun, creative and beneficial activities to their children/students during this time of COVID19. The first series that is being posted is called Rhythm and Movement Exercises for children, youth and adults who are experiencing difficulty with reading, writing or math, or who have developmental delays and/or behaviour issues.
The second set of videos (coming in the near future) will introduce people to the art of Interactive Storytelling. Stay tuned!
The Rhythm and Movement exercises offer neuro-developmental educational support which helps children build the underlying capacities needed for academic learning. This first set of five short videos focuses on activities using bean bags. In the more extensive support program we use balls, skipping ropes, copper rods, as well as drawing and painting exercises designed to ameliorate many of the learning challenges we see today.
Over the last 25 years the relationship between physical movement and human development, and between movement and cognitive learning has been corroborated by neurologists and the growing understanding of brain plasticity. According to Dr. Norman Doidge, “Neuro-plasticity is the property of the brain that enables it to change its own structure and functioning in response to activity and mental experience.” (The Brain’s Way of Healing, preface)
During the first seven years of life, as the child is learning to roll over, sit up, crawl, stand, walk and talk, capacities are being developed that pave the way for academic learning. Some of these capacities include movement co-ordination, balance, spatial awareness, hand dominance, body awareness, sensory integration, eye tracking. Difficulties or “blocks” in one or more of these areas may manifest in less than satisfactory academic work, behavioural and social problems and lack of self confidence. Teachers and parents may be alerted by certain “red flags” such as awkward letter/number formations, difficulty copying from the board, awkward and/or tense pencil grip, legs wrapped around chair legs, sitting on the floor with legs in a W formation, frequently falling off chairs, holding the head up with a hand or awkward placement of paper when writing and drawing, poor posture, difficulty with reading, writing or math after age seven.
Poor body control can affect the ability to remain still and to focus attention. The child who struggles just to sit up straight or to keep his balance, cannot put his mind to the academic task at hand.
Too often children are pressed into a cognitive learning approach for which they may not be developmentally ready. Neuro-Developmental Educational Support is an interim step between recognizing that a child needs help and the traditional cognitive approaches.
Click here for the full article: Neuro-Developmental Support
In 2000-2002, a study was done in the UK in which school children were given 10 minutes of physical exercises per day in the classroom. Significant improvements were seen in reading, writing and drawing. The exercises were based on movements that children make in their first year of life when connections are being formed between the developing brain and the body. These connections are necessary for the control of balance, coordination and eye movements needed to read and write.
Reported in Sally Goddard Blythe’s “The Well-Balanced Child”: H. Putman, The Effect of Developmental Exercise Movements on Children with Persistent Primary Reflexes and Reading Difficulties: A Controlled Trial, Department of Education and Skills, London. Best Practice Research Scholarship, 2000; S. Bertram (2002) The Prince Albert School Pilot Study. Paper presented at the Bangor Dyslexia Conference, Bangor, North Wales, July 2003.)
Studies have compared groups of children in New Zealand who started formal literacy lessons at ages 5 and 7. Their results show that the early introduction of formal learning approaches to literacy does not improve children’s reading development, and may be damaging. By the age of 11 there was no difference in reading ability level between the two groups, but the children who started at 5 developed less positive attitudes to reading, and showed poorer text comprehension than those children who had started later. In a separate study of reading achievement in 15 year olds across 55 countries, researchers showed that there was no significant association between reading achievement and school entry age. “Too Much,Too Soon” by David Whitebread, Cambridge researcher on website www.cam.uk/research.
Research shows a correlation between the amount of dramatic play in pre-schools and expulsion rates (in later grades). Less play, more expulsion. “Even more vital than the learning of reading is the learning of play skills which form the foundation of cognitive skills.” Stephen Hinshaw, Professor of Psychology, U. of California, Berkley.
In the 1970’s Germany turned kindergartens into centers for cognitive achievement. In a study between 50 play-based classes and the new learning centers, it was found that by age 10 the children in play-based classes were doing better, i.e advanced in academics and better adjusted socially and emotionally; they excelled in creativity and intelligence.
A sample of Resources:
Audrey E. McAllen, The Extra Lesson: Movement, Drawing and Painting Exercises to Help Children with difficulties in Writing, Reading and Arithmetic
Bill Hubert, Bal-A-Vis-X: Rhythmic Balance/Auditory/Vision exercises
Norman Doidge, M.D., The Brain’s Way of Healing
The Brain That Changes Itself
Carla Hanford, PH.D., Smart Moves: Why Learning is Not All in Your Head
:The Dominance Factor
Sally Goddard Blythe, Attention,Balance and Coordination: The A.B. C. of Learning Success
:The Well Balanced Child
Everyone is welcome to come and play with us. This year we are thrilled to have musical back -up from Jamie Junger and the Jungernaughts. Gonna be fun! Click on the event page to learn more: JAM DANCE
New Creative Arts program starting on Tuesday Sept. 24! This is for youth and adults who are challenged in any way or diagnosed with an intellectual disability and their peers. The program runs for 10 weeks at the Greenwich Community Centre. Volunteers are needed. Contact for more information or to sign up.
The Annual General Meeting of the Alexander Society for Inclusive Arts will be held on Sunday June 9, 2019 at 1-3 PM at the Greenwich Community Hall.
Come and find out what the Alexander Society has been up to. View the latest video summary of the last 19 years!
RVSP at www.alexandersociety.org or call (902) 582-3888.
We are very happy to be co sponsoring a Community Jam Dance in partnership with The Flower Cart Group and the Deep Roots Music Cooperative.
Jam Dance is fun for everyone who likes to move and dance and be part of community. No experience required. Come as you are! You will be welcomed and guided by experienced creative facilitators Kathleen Purdy, Kimberly Smith and Tammy MacLeod. We will move like the wind, create a group sculpture, play with the sound of our name and explore many other ways to move and interact with the live improvised music of Alex Porter, Kory Bayer and surprise guest musicians. We will use our voices, our hands, our feet; we will laugh, sing, whisper, listen, and experience being part of creating community with each other. This playful dance and musical experience is an opportunity to express yourself, make new connections and celebrate our diversity!
Kevin West from Deep Roots says “Deep Roots Music Cooperative is all about supporting healthy community through music. Jam Dance is a great way to include everybody”
Jeff Kelly from Flower Cart Group says, “Jam Dance provides an opportunity for community to come together to enjoy musical play, meet up with friends and make new ones.”
Kathleen Purdy, Director of the Alexander Society for Inclusive Arts says “Jam Dance is for everyone! It is a wonderful, enjoyable opportunity for connection that enriches our whole community.”
Jam Dance was inspired by Turning The Wheel Productions, a Boulder-based Dance/Theatre company who were in N.S. in the summer of 2000. In the words of Alana Shaw, founder of the company: “Everything we do in Turning the Wheel is an attempt to come back into relationship with our interdependence as human beings, and with the need for love, not power, to form the basis for how we live on the earth. We are passionately committed to building and sustaining transformative communities that are inclusive of all people, and that reach for and model unconditional love and acceptance as the norm.” Learn more about her work here: https://www.turningthewheel.org/
See event link: https://valleyevents.ca/67836
All are welcome to celebrate the spirit of Christmas with a candle light spiral ceremony. There will be a fragrant spiral of balsam fir boughs, live music, poetry, apples and candles. The location is L’Arche Hall, 341 Main Street, Wolfville. 5:00pm to 6:30pm. Click on the link to learn more.
Our fall program for youth and adults will start on Tuesday Sept. 25. from 7 – 8:30 and will run for 10 weeks. I am excited to welcome back Music Therapist Page Gallant as co-facilitator. The program takes place at the Greenwich Community Hall. Lots of fun is in store for participants and friends with storytelling, drama, music, movement and visual arts and crafts. Please contact me for more information and to register. Volunteers are needed as well.