This is a very important question to ask before rushing your child into formal or academic education. Schools are experiencing a high percentage of children who struggle to succeed in the class, no matter how hard teachers try to assist them. In her research through UNISA, Professor Kokot found that 51% of school children experience moderate to severe problems in two or more learning areas. Many of these children revealed no signs of problems before starting school. All too soon, they are labelled and we hear about Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Dyspraxia, Dyslexia and Hyperactivity. The approach is then to ‘treat’ the label or supposed learning disability, without finding the underlying cause of a learner not being able to thrive in school.
You may argue that you sent your child for a school readiness test and they passed with flying colours. That was a good start, but was your child learning ready? School readiness tests look for signs that certain abilities have developed that are needed to perform in the classroom. Abilities like sitting still, manipulating a pencil, good relations with peers, cognitive and perceptual skills. These tests do not investigate the child’s level of neurodevelopment, which is the foundation on which these abilities rest.
In order to be able to learn easily and cope with the demands of the classroom and life in general, children need to have reached a level of brain and body development that will support their functioning.
A child whose nervous system is underdeveloped for their age could be presenting with any of the following: wriggling in his/her seat, poor gross or fine motor skills, difficulty in learning to read, poor ability to pay attention, problematic visual or auditory perception, slow when completing tasks, difficulty remembering times tables, high levels of anxiety and many others.
How can I ensure that my child is really school ready?
The Headstart movement sequence has been adapted from ‘Wired to learn’ by Dr S. Kokot and is designed to adequately integrate primary foundational functions in the child’s brain and can be done at home over a period of six months or more, depending on how quickly your child masters the movements. Movement or exercise (particularly the repetition thereof) increases the flow of blood to the brain and stimulates the growth of new neurological connections. If these neurological connections are absent, the child will be hampered by learning difficulties. Headstart will assist your child not only to be school-ready, but learning ready. In addition, with every purchase of the Headstart programme we will donate R50 to those in need.
Can I use this movement sequence for my young school going child who is having some learning difficulties?
The Headstart movement sequence will definitely benefit primary school children to improve the foundational systems that are not supporting their learning as well as they should. Do remember though, that if the problems are visual or auditory, a sight or hearing test is always your first port of call.
Is there some way that I can identify specific development problems my child may have?
Please look out for my next blog which will deal with retained primary reflexes in the child with learning difficulties.