With greater public awareness about the importance of movement in children of all ages, ZigZagZoo has been making movement a fun and important learning experience. For the past six Fridays, Active Movement, part of Sports Otago, has been giving the young students age appropriate classes.
“Fran MacNamara, Centre Manager, says, “So much of children’s development is linked with physical movement, not to mention health. To have the specialists in our centre has been fabulous for both our students and teachers.
“There has been a real flow on effect where mat time has included physical movement such as musical statues and yoga. These experiences have helped students discover key concepts of up, down and side to side that are so important for numeracy and literacy.”
The physical movements selected start by being age appropriate but also draw in other factors that will help the students become school-ready. For example, the movements will help with numeracy, literacy, holding a pencil and concentration and awareness of others.
ZigZagZoo is part of leading education specialist, ACG (Academic Colleges Group). With inspiration from world-class international education programmes, Resources for Infant Carers (RIE) and the Italian Reggio Programme dovetailing into the New Zealand Curriculum, ZigZagZoo is able to offer the very best of international and home-grown for the growing minds of pre-schoolers.
The strength of the RIE programme lies in each under two and a half year old having a specific teacher as their support, guide and teacher. This allows a strong bond of trust to form that has been shown to greatly benefit the development of the child. The Reggio programme steps in when the children are older than two and a half, and picks up children’s interests and runs child-lead learning scenarios that are all tied back to the curriculum.
Fran says, “The physical movement programme is a great example of utilising specialist knowledge for the benefit of our students. Finding these opportunities is just part of what we do here – I’m totally passionate about it. Seeing the students ready to go off to school is really inspirational.””