Developing a developmental approach

 

It’s peculiar how sometimes things just seem to come together in an unexpected and unplanned manner but I had a meeting today where that very thing happened – and I would put it down in no small part to the discipline of keeping a Learning Log.

The various elements of this web of connections are as follows:

  1. My observations of classes with a focus on learning intention and learning task;
  2. The early years Active Learning approach which I have observed having such a positive effect upon children’s learning;
  3. The developmental approach being used in Maths Recovery;
  4. Our strategic decision to place Learning and Teaching at the heart of A Curriculum for Excellence;
  5. The notion of universal and targeted intervention strategies.
  6. The importance of children being functionally competent by the age of 8-9 to access the rest of the curriculum
  7. Our emerging early years strategy which will link pre-school education; child care; nursery and early years at primary school; and focussed care for vulnerable children and families

There are probably many other possible connections but the above will suffice for the purposes of this post.

The meeting I had this afternoon was with Mike Jess and June Murray, from Edinburgh University and some colleagues from our Active Schools Team. The focus of the meeting was the Basic Moves programme which has been operating in East Lothian Schools promotes an innovative approach towards teaching physical education.

WHAT IS BASIC MOVES?

“The Basic Moves Programme sets out to help all children develop the basic movement competence that lays the foundation for lifelong physical activity. The importance of basic movement competence cannot be overemphasised as it means children are able to pass through the proficiency barrier between the simple activities of early childhood and the more complex activities of late childhood witconfidence. As Seefeldt, Haubenstricker and Reuchlien (1979, cited in Graham, Holt, Hale and Parker, 2001, p. 32) have said,

Children who possess inadequate motor skills are often relegated to a life of exclusion from organised and free play experiences of their peers, and subsequently, to a lifetime of inactivity because of their frustrations in early movement behaviour.

Simply, developing children’s basic movement competence as the foundation for a lifetime of physical activity cannot be left to chance and must become the focus of children’s programmes in the future (Jess and Collins, 2003)……

The programme is based on the need for adults and children to have a shared understanding of the Basic Movement Framework and for adults to consistently offer children developmentally appropriate, inclusive and integrated experiences that lead them to develop this critical foundation. Children’s basic movement competence has been left to chance for far too long and we must now take the opportunity to rectify this situation once and for all.”

The purpose of of our meeting this afternoon was to consider the next steps when the current programme in East Lothian comes to an end in 2009.

Emerging from the meeting was a fledgling strategy which begins to tie together some of the strands I mentioned at the begining of this post:

1.      Basic Moves needs to be embedded within our evolving developmental approach towards ensuring that every child reaches a level of competence in literacy, numeracy, movement, and social and emotional development to enable them to fully access the educational opportunities provided for them beyond the age of 8.

 

2.      The strategy needs to adopt a focus upon pedagogy and a shared understanding of a developmental approach which builds from where children are starting from.

 

3.      We need to develop and implement a range of proactive intervention strategies which target and support children whose rate of development might be compromised by socioeconomic reasons or other family circumstances.