This interview is with the mother of one of our wonderful preschoolers. Adam is a four-year-old boy who started our program knowing very little English after moving to Boise from Israel. We’re thrilled at the progression he’s made, and look forward to pushing him to reach even more goals!
Adam’s mother talks about her thought process in choosing Bodies in Motion for her child. Together her and our preschool director talk about the best part of the school and what preschoolers and their parents can expect by coming to Bodies in Motion.
Preschool Director: What process did you use to find a preschool or child care for your child?
Adam's Mother: “When we moved to Boise from Israel, I started to ask all my new friends for recommendations. Lena and Mark Tunik spoke highly of your establishment from their personal experience. During the tour, I liked what I saw (big and clean rooms, happy kids, a lot of friendly staff members) and I also liked the concept of moving through different rooms and activities during the day.”
What did you want to know in order to make a final decision about where your child would go to school?
“I wanted to know that kids are being treated in a respectful manner, that they are safe under your roof and being educated through different games. I wanted to know that Adam will get extra help in his special situation because he was not speaking nor understanding English at all at the beginning of the year. I wanted to know the hours and the price. I wanted to hear a genuine opinion about your place from other parents.”
Why did you choose the Bodies in Motion?
“I chose Bodies in Motion because I felt genuine interest to help Adam learn English and also because I trusted Lena and Mark's opinion based on their personal experience. As well, it was relatively close to our house and the hours were great for us.”
How do you know what is happening in school?
“I usually get in touch with Adam's teachers via the Brightwheel app or set up a one on one meetings, but at the beginning of the year the communication was more personal at the end of each day I was asking how was his day and what has happened. I also visited the preschool couple of times during the day to see with my own eyes what is going on. We were working together on resolving some of the issues with Adam and we did a great job based on the results that I see at home and at Bodies in Motion.”
How do you know if your child is happy?
“At the end of the day Adam comes home and tells us in Hebrew how his day went and what did he do, he is always asking to go to preschool even on the weekends. Kids his age don't lie, so I know that he likes Bodies in Motion a lot.”
How do you share information with the teachers?
“Either in person or via the App, whatever comes first.”
What is important to you about the program?
“For me, the most important thing about the program is that now Adam understands English and can say short sentences and communicate with his peers verbally. I also like stations concept and wording games. I also liked that the kids took very organized trips to the library, parks, museums and more. It was very educational and interesting for them.”
What changes do you see could be made?
“In Israel, in preschool, there are only one teacher and two permanent assistants, and it is a good combination in some cases especially if the child has chemistry with them. Some parents would prefer this option better. In our case, although there were some staff changes during the year, Adam was able to learn something new from each and every teacher/staff member.”
What did you like about the facility itself?
“I especially liked the open communication channel whether in person or via email, and the fact that I was actually listened to and was able to say what I really felt and wanted to say. I also liked the different rooms concept so that the kids could have a variety of activities during the day and not just being stuck in one classroom.”
Would you choose this facility again? Why or why not?
“Yes, I would certainly choose Bodies in Motion again because I think the preschool staff is amazing and doing a great job taking care of and educating our kids.”
What growth have you seen your child make? What made this possible?
“We managed to achieve verbal communication in English versus physical one at first. A lot of work was invested to make it happen from the preschool side and ours. From the preschool side it was making Adam repeat each word in English before he could actually get it. As well, there was a lot of visualization prior to actions, such as cards and posters, that helped him understand what was expected of him. From our side a lot of conversations were made with Adam in regards to his behavior on the premises and also the physical contact with the other kids (like you can't just hit every time you don't like something, you have to speak and ask for help and you will get help from your teacher). Another big change was social interaction with his peers, Adam did not know how to approach kids and play with them nicely. Today he knows how to do that, and we have seen him playing with kids other than his brother when we came to pick him up. He even told us that he has friends now, Wayne and Austin.”
Any additional comments to share with us?
“In general, it was a challenging year for our family and especially for the kids - getting used to a different language, behavioral code, and even food. I strongly believe that Bodies in Motion preschool staff made this transition a little bit easier for us and especially for Adam. It gave him a nice learning and social environment and a daily routine to look forward to. We are extremely happy to share this year with Bodies in Motion preschool.”
Here at Bodies in Motion, we have spent countless curriculum hours planning for differentiation. Through our years with children of every shape, size, ability, and personality we have been able to make our program fit our students. We have a general curriculum frame that allows for change and flexibility based on our kids each year. Bodies in Motion strives to set and reach goals with each and every one of our students. As a team; teachers, staff, parents and children create and work towards goals with the mindset that’ “As a team, we can do this!”
How to Get Your Children Outside More
If you talk to your parents about what they did as a child, you might find that most of their activities took place with friends outside. However, if you talk to your children, you might see the opposite. We live in a highly urban and technology friendly world lacking the green space that our parents and grandparents might have had. So then, how do we encourage our children to get outside more often?
Tell them it's okay
Some children have a fear of getting messy. We need to remind them that getting dirty and messy is okay and that it all washes off in the end. Encourage them to jump around in the mud and explore with their hands.
Create a scavenger hunt
Create a list of things that they need to find from nature and bring to you. Hide their items throughout nature. If you want to take it up a notch, try geocaching!
Create an Inviting Outdoor Space
If you don't have a playground nearby, there are still many things you can do to encourage outdoor activities. Get your kid some chalk, a ball, a jump rope, and some buckets. Set up a space or an area of the yard where all of these things can stay. Encourage them to go outside and use them as well as nature found items like sticks and rocks. Sometimes all it takes is just a few things to get them started.
Plant a Garden with Your Child
One great way to get kids out and started in nature is to plant a garden with them. Use vegetables they like so that they can look forward to picking and helping cook their food in the future. Another option is to let them help you plant flowers. Teach them as you go so that you are giving them some fun time in the dirt as well as an educational experience.
Walk to School
If you live close enough, try walking with them to school in the morning. Point out all the beautiful parts of nature including the colors, plants, and animals. If you don't live very close to their school, then try parking nearby and walking the last bit. Getting them outside in the morning can make a great start to the day.
Encourage Nature-Based Vacations
Next time you take a vacation go on a nature-based vacation. Try camping in the woods or hiking along a trail for two ideas. Another option is to go to the beach or the desert. These can be great ways to let them explore new environments. Take excursions to go canoeing or rafting or let them go to a nature preserve where they can see animals and learn about their natural habitats.
Move Regular Activities Outside
On an average day, you eat at your dining room table and spend your afternoons with your child in the living room. Think about moving some of these to nature. Start by having a picnic with your kid or eating on the back porch for dinner. Spend time taking a stroll in the afternoon rather than watching TV. Mindfully moving everyday activities outside is a great way to not only get your child out but yourself as well.
Overall, there are many ways to get your child outside more often. Getting your child out can result in better creativity and problem-solving skills. You might have to start by going with them, but eventually, they'll go outside with their desire to find and learn new things. Don't forget to take time with the whole family out regularly. This bonding time is a great way to lead by example and create memories with your children. Are there any other ways that you get your child outside?
How Does Martial Arts Help Children?
Martial arts is a sector of physical fitness that includes things like jiu-jitsu, taekwondo, and karate. Enjoyed by adults and children alike, the most apparent benefit is the improvement in physical health. Many adults will join martial arts as a way to reach their fitness goals.
For the same reason, many parents have sent their kids to our classes. As a class member learns and grows, they will see healthy changes in their body including losing fat and gaining muscle. However, there are many other surprising benefits as to why children especially should start martial arts from a young age.
Martial arts requires concentration and control to improve in the sport. This work is excellent for children, especially at a young age. Children as young as three years old can join our martial arts classes. Should the teacher notice, their mind wandering they will often employ a “ready stance” to get them back on track.
This stance teaches the child how to refocus when they drift in daily life. Over time it helps the child to realize when they are getting distracted. As they get older, the children will use their own “ready stance” to stay more focused. You can see improvements in concentration during school and even at work as they get older.
Martial arts is a sport of repetition and learning. The deliberate and repetitive movements involved in karate can often help kids develop a better understanding of how their body works. Children that struggle with fine motor skills can reap significant rewards from the slow and repetitive movements that the sport employs.
It's also valuable to children who have a hard time relaxing or sitting still. Hyperactive children can benefit from the mind over matter teachings. Over time, they will understand how to use a calm and focused mind to sit still.
Self Defense Skills
When a child goes to martial arts, they can have fun while learning new things. However, what the child may not realize in the beginning is that those new things could one day save their life. While wanting the children to have fun, the instructor is also teaching them is how to defend themselves.
The instructor will always focus on defense teaching that they should never use martial arts to hurt others or start a fight. Our program concentrates explicitly on taekwondo. However, we've designed a curriculum to maximize self-defense skills by incorporating other forms of martial arts. This mixing creates a well-balanced student that gets all the benefits possible from the program.
If you have a hyper child, you know how hard it can be to find an outlet for them. Unlike sports that keep them sidelined, martial arts is all in all the time. This all-in mentality provides an excellent outlet for children who need a way to channel excess energy at the end of the day. While many parents might worry that this energy release could teach them violent behaviors, the instructors are there to help.
As mentioned before, the instructors emphasize each class that fighting should be the last resort. They teach the kids healthy was to channel frustrations as well as how to employ mindfulness and compassion when they are upset. Through the use or bags and boards, children are shown the correct ways they can use their anger or frustration while also working on self-control.
Though still in a classroom environment, martial arts is individually focused. Each child grows and learns at their own pace and with their own skill set. Children can often be seen helping each other get it right. The children do this because each child is working on his or her personal goals rather than competing against each other.
Enjoyable for children who aren’t great at “normal” sports like basketball or soccer, this sport allows for as much time as they need rather than one season where they might be on the bleachers. Lastly, it’s also great for children who don’t like the idea of competition and instead desire to better themselves and beat their own goals.
Overall, children can heal a lot from martial arts. It’s a form of physical activity that teaching mind over matter, self-control, self-defense, coordination, and anger management. Over time, participants will get more in shape both physically as well as mentally. If you are interested in learning more about martial arts for your child, why not come to one of our classes!
Meet Calvin and Alanis, two students in our martial arts program. They are siblings and are both members of an elite crew of dedicated students we refer to as Black Belt Club. They come to an extra class every week, where we work on building muscle for the tough, physical requirements for Black Belt, perfecting poomse, and learning a Filipino weapons system.
Calvin and Alanis are pretty hard-core.
Calvin is 12 years old, tall for his age, with dark brown hair and hipster glasses. He’s startlingly smart and very observant. Calvin's got lots of questions, and he always wants to do things right. He earned his red belt a few months ago and is well on his way to Black Belt. Calvin spent his holiday break writing an extra credit book report for Black Belt Club.
Alanis is nine years old, also tall for her age, and generally pulls her long brown hair into a ponytail with glittery pink scrunchies. She manages to balance martial arts and dance, and she’s pretty good at both of them. Alanis is a blue belt, but she’s within spitting distance of red. She’s always excited to be in class and works hard to learn the material.
Calvin's Board Breaking Experience
One of the homework assignments for our Block 3 (red belt) students this segment was Focus, which included breaking a board for the first time. The students are usually pretty excited until they look at a one-inch-thick hunk of pine board. Their eyes get big, they swallow hard, and they think the instructors are crazy when we say it’s easy to smash their foot through. Calvin was no exception. It can be intimidating, no doubt. But – like a true red belt – he got after it and smashed right through without any trouble.
His favorite part of martial arts? “I like learning the self-defense and other cool moves.” Then, with a grin on his face, “Oh, and kicking through the boards!” Part of Bodies in Motion’s purpose is to encourage empowerment. Can you think of many things more empowering than a 12-year-old kid realizing he can smash his foot through a board without it even hurting? He learned that he can quickly and successfully tackle scary-looking challenges. It also doesn’t hurt to know he’s got a killer kick.
Calvin also says he values the self-discipline he’s learned over his years of martial arts practice. It helps him get to class and work hard even when he’s tired. He also appreciates the self-defense skills he’s learned and the physical strength he’s gained.
Alanis's Love of Poomse
Alanis hasn’t had a chance to break a board yet, but her opportunity is quickly approaching. Until then, she really likes learning the poomse. Poomse (or forms) are a prescribed series of techniques. The goal is to increase the power and speed of techniques by synchronizing the breath with the movement. She likes being able to do them with precision and control at the Belt Ceremony to show off to her family. It takes a lot of practice to be able to do the poomse that well, but she uses the self-discipline she’s learned to make it happen.
Alanis says she really likes having strong self-defense skills along with the confidence those skills give her. If she had a friend thinking about starting martial arts, she would tell her friend, “You should join to be able to defend yourself and to gain strength.”
Why Should a Friend Join?
If Calvin were to persuade a friend to join, he thinks his argument would be something along the lines of:
“You should join so you can get good at defending yourself and to learn good life skills like focus and self-control. We should learn to respond to problems, not with violence, but learn to use some self-control to figure things out.”
Calvin and Alanis’ mom, Clare, usually brings them to class, and she has a lot of positive things to say as well. She really likes the confidence and physical strength they’ve gained. She’s a fan of our character development homework assignments and watches Calvin and Alanis put a lot of effort into those assignments. She’s thrilled to know her kids have practical and useful self-defense skills.
How does she know they have good skills? They’ve practiced on their dad! He says they work really well. Clare also really loves the flexible class schedule. We recommend that students come twice a week, but our students aren’t locked into classes on certain days at specific times. Clare says,
“If my daughter has a bad day or my son doesn’t feel well, it’s not a big deal. We’ll skip that class and just come to one a different day. It makes it so much easier for our schedule to not have to stress about making it to class at specific times.”
Calvin and Alanis (and their mom) agree that they are learning practical life skills in class as well as from the character development homework assignments. They are building strong self-defense skills, which builds their confidence in different situations. From poomse and board-breaking (as well as sparring, grappling, and boxing) they are learning that they can take challenges head on, and – with consistent, hard work – they can be successful. That’s empowerment.
Bodies in Motion is a full-service location offering everything from preschool and summer camp to martial arts for children looking to be more active. Why do we work so hard to keep the children of Boise active? What level of activity is good for a child and why is it needed?
Children are still growing both mentally and physically. By giving them an active start to life, you are proving them with the starting boards to successful habits. Regular physical activity is an essential part of any person’s path to being healthy, children included. Teaching them to be active is vital in getting them to stay healthy as they grow and develop throughout their lives.
Positive Effects of Activity for Children
What Happens if Kids Don’t Get Enough Exercise?
When a kid is not outside (or inside) running around enough, they risk obesity or gaining weight. They can also suffer from a lack of flexibility and bad posture. Looking at the opposites of the remainder of the list above and you can see some slightly negative downsides to no activity. Activity for children is as important as important as eating and sleeping. If they don’t get enough, they risk lifelong complication and long term issues.
How Much Activity Do They Need?
When working to get children more active, you should work towards at least 60 minutes of activity a day. This activity should be at least moderate if not vigorous to ensure they are getting the physical exercise they need to thrive. If able, kids should get a few hours of activity a day to reap the most reward.
By entering kids into sports like martial arts or other after-school lessons, you can accomplish sixty minutes a day with ease. Also, playtime on weekends is great for their health. Take them to the ballpark for family time or schedule a playdate with another family to get them active and around others their age.
The best way to ensure that a kid is staying healthy and active is to do something multiple times throughout the day. Though you can get out there for a few hours in one session, allowing multiple breaks in one day can be more helpful to the child both mentally and physically in the long run. Don't’ forget to include all types of activities during the week from strengthening activities like climbing or jumping to cardio activities like running or swimming.
Overall, keeping a kid active can only help them as they grow and learn. Getting anywhere from one to three hours of vigorous physical activity will ensure that your child is getting the workout they need to form new habits and improve their overall health as they grow. If you are interested in sending them to an after-school session, look into the many classes we offer for kids of all ages!
Many preschool children thrive off movement and activity. Most of the moments they are sitting still they are planning their next adventure. It's not shocking then that school can be a hard concept for these active children.
Rather than tell them to stop and change who they are, we should work with them to focus their energy in positive and productive ways. However, as a Boise Preschool, it can be hard to get children outside every day. Due to the rapid changes in the weather, we must often look for ways to get the active inside.
Though not decades old, the concept of “active seating” isn’t new. Many offices in Boise, as well as the rest of the USA, have been implementing yoga balls, bouncing dinosaurs and other forms of active seating to brighten the day. Not just meant for adults, these types of seats can be of great interest to a child too.
Though children will still have to sit, they can use these seating balls to focus their energy as well as work on balance and coordination. For the more active and restless children, the ability to bounce and move more than in a regular seat can help them transition to an average classroom over time rather than all at once.
Skills from Sports
Our Boise Preschool firmly believes in active learning in every sense of the word. We think that children should learn by using all their senses and skills. While many times this involves hands-on activities that encourage the children to speak. Sometimes though, it refers to getting them out of their seats and moving.
Getting them moving is quickly done with indoor games and activities like martial arts. In doing this, the children learn more than just a skill that can keep them in shape. They learn the valuable skills of problem-solving, respect, and teamwork. Finding high energy activities like these can help children to learn while getting their activity in for the day.
Leading off the last topic, even preschoolers need gym class. Though this isn’t the gym class you might have taken in high school, it’s a way to make sure these kids are getting the exercise they need. Getting them to run fun races or play soccer can work on many team and dexterous skills while giving them extra time outside. Taking them through a “mini” boot camp can make them feel like an adult while teaching them that hard work can be fun. As a bonus, children often listen better when they have worked out all their energy.
If you’ve ever taught a kid to count, you may have watched them jump as they counted. It’s not uncommon. It helps them to remember. It may seem harder for the teacher to control, but standing lessons are great for children’s minds and activity levels. When learning the ABCs, counting, or adding preschool students in our Biose Preschool often can jump or stand while learning. This can be as simple as one student coming to the front of the classroom to use the poster or as group oriented as the whole class holding hands and jumping along.
No child is perfect. When learning to attend a preschool, there will be mess-ups and problems from fights to crying sessions. Rather than putting the child into a timeout, try time-in. Use physical activities to help the child learn how they feel and why. It’s important to think about each move and how it can help the child.
For example, if you are having issues between two children, bring them together to work out their differences. Though young, these three and four-year-old preschoolers are smart. Get them to work together to reach the end of an obstacle course or to complete a task. Another example would be in playing Ring Around the Rosie to get a shy or sad child up and involved without focused pressure.
There are many ways to get kids active inside. Here at Bodies in Motion, we want to make sure that your kid is learning and moving to grow to be the best kid they can be.