Creative Action Adventure
Supporting Information and Resources
Good posture effects the way we project ourselves into the world. Power Posture is a key element in the Creative Action Adventure core curriculum because I believe it is a little physical skill that can go such a long way. Power posture is used to train a “home base” for our bodies from which all other movement can be done with strength, power, and healthy ergonomic alignment. Posture reflects mood and emotion and can be used as another tool to change your state. One can learn to shift a sad slouchy state just by bringing your body into a strong, confident Power posture position. Posture also affects how other people receive our physical presence and message. Power posture will give kids a physique of strength and confidence on the inside and out.
Kids "have bad posture because they have lost their core stability," says Scott Bautch, past president of the American Chiropractic Association's Council on Occupational Health, who used to run programs that encouraged good posture in Midwestern schools. As children's overall fitness has declined, the muscles in their abdomen, upper back, shoulders and lower back have become soft as well, Bautch and other experts say. Good posture "is remembering to hold your shoulders back," adds Todd Galati, director of academy for the American Council on Exercise and a former researcher on youth fitness at the University of California at San Diego. "And it's getting your body to function in a way that allows your shoulders to stay back."One hundred fifty years ago, most people performed tasks each day that taxed the muscles of their trunks in every direction, Bautch says. This led to a balanced upper body, roughly equal strength in the muscles of the front, back and sides of the torso. Good posture was a natural result. Today, studies show that most physical work is likely to be repetitive: the same small keyboard strokes or assembly line tasks over and over again. There is little chance that balanced opposing muscles will develop from such efforts and be capable of holding the body upright. (1)
Commonly recognized sensory systems are those for vision, hearing, touch, taste, smell, and balance. In short, senses are transducers from the physical world to the realm of the mind where we interpret the information, creating our perception of the world around us.(2) A developed Sensory system is what makes learning possible. Learning is not just about reading writing and math. These are the higher abilities that are built upon the integrity of the relationship between the brain and the body. (3)
The following post was written by Marcia Washington OTR/L, who has been practicing pediatric occupational therapy for 20 years.
Parents often ask me –
What is sensory integration and how can I help my child with it?
Here is my explanation:
Picture yourself in the middle of a lake sitting in a row boat. You stand up to see something off in the distance. When you stand up, you feel the unsteady movement underneath your feet. Are you able to steady yourself as the boat moves under you? You decide the view is breathtaking and pull your camera up to your face from around your neck. You are now looking through a lens and focusing on a distant picture all while maintaining control of your body on an unsteady surface.
How well are you able to do this, would this be a high challenge for you or not even take a second thought? Are your senses fully integrated during that challenge, can you meet the demands of the task? This is sensory integration.
We all have sensory “preferences” and things that cause us to feel an imbalance to our nervous system. However, if you are able to maintain a steady control from the outside in: body in space, senses in check and emotions not exploding continuously then you are experiencing typical sensory integration. Your coping skills allow you to stay “in check.”
Sensory integration means our senses are complementing each other rather than out of balance. Our senses are more than the 5 outward senses we learn as a young child in the classroom. Yes, they include hearing, tasting, smelling, seeing and touch. However, they also include the vestibular sense and the proprioceptive sense, which give us information from inside our bodies and help us balance and coordinate our movements.
What are the Vestibular Senses?
The vestibular system is very important to a child’s early development. The vestibular sense perceives balance, spacial orientation, and equilibrium. This system relays information to the brain that tells us where we are in space in relation to gravity.
If our vestibular system is not functioning well, we would not be able to stand in that row boat.
What is the Proprioceptive Sense?
Proprioception is your inner experience of where your body is and what it’s doing. It’s what allows us to pick up the camera and plant our feet to stabilize our bodies in the row boat. Proprioceptors are found in our muscles and tell us where our bodies are and what our bodies are doing. (4)
Creative Action Adventure and Foot Health
Creative Action Adventure is designed to be practiced barefoot.The sole of the foot is a sensory organ by which we perceive the ground while standing and walking. The sole of your foot has over 200,000 nerve endings in it, one of the highest concentrations anywhere in the body.(5) Our feet are designed to act as earthward antennae, helping us balance and transmitting information to us about the ground we’re walking on. As well as not moving enough, children today in our culture are also not moving barefoot enough. It is manifesting in yet another sensory deficiency in coordination, balance, behavior and learning.
Reflex integration and Clinical Observations
Scientific findings to support the theory and practice of reflex integration can be found in many different sources and is being used in many different medical professions around the world.
Possibly most decorated is Dr. Svetlana Masgutova, founder of the Masgutova Neurosensorimotor Reflex Integration method or the MNRI method. She is the author of “Reflexes: Portal to the neurodevelopment and learning”. Her book is a compilation of 120 articles by 60 authors describing MNRI® history, theory, and the science behind it, along with many case studies and testimonial stories written by Core Specialists, professionals, parents, and sometimes, the individual themselves. Her work focuses on the concepts of Reflex Integration to facilitate sensory-motor rehabilitation, emotional recovery from traumatic stress, as well as learning and developmental enrichment.
It has become apparent through the thousands of assessments completed by Dr. Masgutova that as the number of non-integrated primary infant reflexes increase in an individual, the range and severity of motor, communication, and cognitive challenges and emotional and behavioral regulation issues correspondingly increase. In 2004, Dr. Masgutova and her team tracked primary infant reflex assessment results for a population of 850 children, ages 1-12. The children and their conditions were classified according to the predominant diagnoses provided by their parents. From this work emerged the following general non-integrated reflex profiles for each characterized condition: (6)
Breath Awareness and Deep Breathing with children
Breathing techniques offer easy-to-practice activities for building basic self-regulation in the body of youngsters. When you connect children to an awareness of how they are breathing and give ways they can change and manage their breath themselves, you give them a life-long tool for healthy self-regulation.
The Self Regulated Learner
Self-regulation is a critical competency that underlies executive function in two major ways: social-emotional (appropriate behavior in a social context) and cognitive (focus, academic learning, problem-solving). It is crucial that children learn basic self-regulation in early childhood because research indicates that children who cannot control their emotions at age four are unlikely to be able to follow the teachers’ directions at age six, and will not become reflective learners in middle and high school.
Self Control vs. Obedience
Self-regulation is not obedience or compliance but rather the ability to control and navigate one’s feelings, impulses, and behaviors. When children are self-regulated, they can both stop or start doing something, even if they don’t want to. They can delay gratification; think ahead; control impulses and consider options. Breathing techniques give children something specific to do to support themselves when confronted with the challenges of transitions, sharing, waiting, and re-directing impulses.
Kindergarten teachers rank self-regulation as the most important competency for school readiness. They find it more important than IQ or reading or math skills for social success and academic achievement. Unfortunately, early childhood teachers are also reporting that more and more children are coming to school dysregulated or with low levels of self-regulation.
Breathing exercises are a first step in helping children enhance their capacity to monitor and manage themselves, so they can start to self-regulate sufficiently to feel successful in a school setting. Dr. Becky Baily, of Conscious Discipline, calls breathing the first step in any discipline encounter because it shifts children out of fight or flight mode.
When we teach breathing exercises to kids, we give them a life-long tool for managing their stress and cultivating inner peace. Each and every one of us has the ability to feel calmer, more relaxed, and more alert at any given moment. This ability is called “Conscious Breathing”. Whenever we use it, we are less stressed, more mindful, more creative and just plain cooler and kinder. When we focus on breathing fully and deeply, we move out of our sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight ) into our parasympathetic nervous system (relaxation and receptivity). When we consciously connect with, and manipulate our breath, we plug into the communication highway, linking body and mind, with the messages we want to send. With specific breathing exercises, we can calm, soothe, support or energize our”state” as needed.7
Information Resourced From
Bernstein, Lenny. “To help kids maintain good posture, make it fun” (September 16, 2010) the Washington Post. Retrieved august 21, 2018 from washingtonpost.com
Krantz, John. "Experiencing Sensation and Perception - Chapter 1: What is Sensation and Perception?" (Pdf). p. 1.6. Retrieved May 16, 2013.
3. Blythe, Sally. “The Well Balanced Child”,Gloucestershire, UK, Hawthorn House (2004) pg5
4. Tierney, Adrienne L., and Charles A. Nelson. “Brain Development and the Role of Experience in the Early Years.” Zero to three 30.2 (2009): 9–13. Print.
5. Sternberg, Adam. “You Walk Wrong” New York magazine 4/21/2008.
6. Svetlana Masgutova Educational Institute. (2018) MNRI method. Retrieved August 21, 2018 from masgutovamethod.com .
7. Bragdon, Liz. “4 Breathing Exercises for kids to empower, calm, and self regulate”. (Janurary 30,2012) Move with me Yoga adventures. Retrieved on 8/22/2018 from move-with-me.com
8. Hannaford, Carla “Smart Moves: why thinking is not all in your head”, Salt Lake City Utah, Great River Books,(1995) page17
9.Blythe, Sally. “The Well Balanced Child”, Gloucestershire, UK, Hawthorn House (2004) pg.45