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Transform Children’s Fine Motor Skills With These Musical Activities

Transform Children’s Fine Motor Skills With These Musical Activities

Music: One Of The Most Versatile Activities For Fine Motor Skills

We use it to relax, to communicate, and it can enhance almost any social occasion. Music is also a fantastic learning tool, and this article introduces ideas that may be used to develop fine motor skills in the early years. 

Fine motor skills is an essential skill in the world in which children are growing. So many actions become automated as adults, but thinking a little more, many activities rely on the ability to, for example, grasp things between finger and thumb (writing, sewing and other crafts, sports, and countless duties in most jobs).  

The biggest challenges that children’s workers have is to make activities easy enough to try, interesting enough to want to do and repeat, and hard enough to feel a sense of achievement. Music solves this triple challenge beautifully just because it is music. 

Music is one of the most engaging activities, with well-publicised findings that every area of the brain responds when we participate in musical activities, from listening to singing. This is one of the reasons that it is one of the most accessible therapies for such a wide range of health conditions. It also triggers “feel-good” hormones, making time feel enjoyable and, well, timeless, because it is so enjoyable. So how can music be used to develop fine motor skills? 

One of the recommendations from the 2020 report on the State of Child Health suggests an increased focus on a child’s first 1,000 days of life – a.k.a. the early years. The Ages and Stages Questionnaire provides further activity suggestions specific to fine motor skills, including grasping, threading beads and unbuttoning clothes. 

Song Suggestions To Incorporate Fine Motor Skills

Brahms’ Lullaby 

Lullaby and good night,  
Thy mother’s delight 
Bright angels around, 
My darling, shall stand. 
They will guide thee from harms, 
Thou shall wake in my arms. 
They will guide thee from harms, 
Thou shall wake in my arms. 

Lullaby and good night,  
With roses bedight 
With lilies bedecked,  
Is my baby’s wee bed. 
Lay thee down, now and rest, 
May thy slumber be blessed. 
Lay thee down, now and rest, 
May thy slumber be blessed. 

This relaxing lullaby by Brahms was written for an old girlfriend on the birth of her child, and he created it as both a lullaby and a love song. Possibly the most well-known lullaby, this song is a great opportunity to sing and hold little one. One of the best ways to share music with children is by holding them close, up against you, to feel your breathing, feel the vibrations from your voice through your chest. Use your finger to trace patterns on them, on their back, arms, and legs, using fine motor skills to teach – and model – fine motor skills. In this way, little ones are both hearing and feeling the music – a magical time. 

Cradle Song 

Golden slumbers fill your eyes 

Smiles awake you when you rise 

Sleep, pretty darling, do not cry 

And I will sing a lullaby 

Rock them, rock them, lullaby 

Care is heavy, therefore sleep you 

You are care, and care must keep you 

Sleep, pretty darling, do not cry 

And I will sing a lullaby 

Rock them, rock them, lullaby 

This lovely lullaby by Thomas Dekker (1603) came well before McCartney wrote the Beatles’ “Golden Slumbers”. Written in classic 6/8 rocking timing, this song is ideal for rocking little ones, clearly the purpose of the poem.

Alternatively, gently stroke little ones to sleep by tracing invisible lines on them, using your own fingers/hands. Gently moving your finger around the shape of their hands or (if not too ticklish) their feet, helping them to embody/feel the extent of their body. Not only does this activity help to develop proprioception (awareness of the position or movement of the body), but it also models fine motor co-ordination, which they in turn will imitate on their own dolls, teddies or other toys. Proprioception is an important element in developing individual identity, and this is a gentle, calming way to do this. 

My Favourite Things 

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens  
Bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens  
Brown paper packages tied up with strings  
These are a few of my favourite things 
 
Cream-coloured ponies and crisp apple strudels  
Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles  
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings  
These are a few of my favourite things 
 
Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes  
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes  
Silver-white winters that melt into springs  
These are a few of my favourite things 
 
When the dog bites 
When the bee stings 
When I'm feeling sad 
I simply remember my favourite things 
And then I don't feel so bad 

This is a lovely song that introduces vibrant imagery that many people will relate to, especially children. Bringing hope and positivity, this song can be used for a number of activities developing fine motor control.

Using blue, scented playdough to make “raindrops”, and folding or cutting red craft paper into “roses”; polishing copper ornaments and threading wool into shapes, like mittens; tying pieces of string (with or without the packages – literally every line is a fine motor activity suggestion, even holding crayons or pencils to draw the stripes of the “bees”. And listening to or singing the song can help to remind us of the sequence of the activities! 

Fine motor co-ordination is an essential life skill that enables us to do so much more. There are so many activities that as adults we take for granted, and do so much quicker than children – and it can be so tempting to do them for our children to save time. The gift of time cannot be over-emphasised: making time to play, time to learn, time to sing. Here’s hoping you can make time to sing today! 

About the author:

Frances Turnbull, a musician, researcher, and accomplished author, boasts a skill set that encompasses both music education techniques and a Master's degree in Education from the University of Cambridge. Frances' literary contributions shine a spotlight of music, dance, and movement within early years education.

About the author:

Frances Turnbull, a musician, researcher, and accomplished author, boasts a skill set that encompasses both music education techniques and a Master's degree in Education from the University of Cambridge. Frances' literary contributions shine a spotlight of music, dance, and movement within early years education.

About the author:

Frances Turnbull, a musician, researcher, and accomplished author, boasts a skill set that encompasses both music education techniques and a Master's degree in Education from the University of Cambridge. Frances' literary contributions shine a spotlight of music, dance, and movement within early years education.

8 Powerful Secrets To Build Children’s Self-Esteem And Confidence

8 Powerful Secrets To Build Children’s Self-Esteem And Confidence

1. Encourage children to do things for themselves

Supporting children's independence is crucial in early years education, so we focus on that first, in detail. Here's how we, as early years practitioners, can encourage independence: 

  • Before intervening, take a moment to observe the child. Assess whether they genuinely need assistance or if they are taking their time. Sometimes, children are absorbed in their tasks and need a little more time. 
  • Encourage children to embrace challenges and see mistakes as opportunities to learn. Praise their efforts and persistence rather than just the result. This fosters resilience and a positive attitude towards learning. 
  • Ensure that the tasks you assign are suitable for the child's age and developmental stage. Tasks that are too difficult can frustrate children, while tasks that are too easy may not challenge them enough. Finding the right balance is key. 
  • Demonstrate independence in your actions. Children often learn by example, so let them see you completing tasks on your own and problem-solving when faced with challenges. 
  • Instead of immediately stepping in, offer guidance and encouragement. Ask open-ended questions to scaffold their thinking and help them find solutions on their own. For example, "What do you think you could try next?" or "Can you tell me about your plan?" 
  • Arrange the learning environment to promote independence. Ensure materials are accessible to children and encourage them to tidy up after themselves. Clearly label areas and materials to encourage self-directed play and exploration. 
  • Acknowledge and celebrate children's achievements when they complete tasks independently. This could be through verbal praise, stickers, or a special spot on an "Independence Wall" where their accomplishments are displayed. 
  • Share with parents the importance of fostering independence at home as well. Provide them with strategies and ideas they can use to encourage independence in their children outside of the childcare setting. 
  • Regularly reflect on your practice and how you're promoting independence. Adapt your approach based on the needs and progress of the children in your care. What works for one child may not work for another. 
  • It can be challenging to resist the urge to jump in and help immediately, especially when time is limited. Remember to be patient and give children the time they need to develop their independence skills. In the long run, it will benefit both you and the children in your care.

2. Praise effort and resilience for self-esteem

If children only ever get praised for their wins, they will learn to associate acceptance with victories, and this may lead to them shying away from failure through a subconscious fear of rejection. However, if alongside their victories, we also praise their effort and resilience, they will develop more of a growth mindset because they will see the greatness in persistence and determination and will therefore face challenges head on knowing they are being brave and bold rather than a ‘failure’. 

  1. Allow them to fail

Following on from the previous point, it is important to not only allow children to fail but also to teach them how to fail. One of my favourite sayings is ‘there are no mistakes in life, just lessons’ and I think this is very true. In the words of Nelson Mandela, we either win or learn. In life, we will fail many times before we succeed. However, if we can take each failure as a lesson and use it as a stepping-stone to learn and grow, we will achieve our goals much sooner. Behind every successful person there are many unsuccessful moments, so we need to teach children to embrace the setbacks and view them as a part of their journey to greatness.  

  1. Make them feel loved and accepted

Every child is unique and individual. There will be times when their little personalities and beliefs clash with ours. However, they must be allowed to develop and grow into their authentic selves and know that they are loved and accepted for who they truly are.  

  1. Teach them positive self-talk

Our words are powerful, and our minds are like computers that get programmed with the messages and actions that are experienced consistently. In the words of Henry Ford, ‘Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right’. What we tell ourselves is important because our mind will be obedient to the messages it receives. Positive self-talk impacts our mindset, and our mindset influences our actions daily. The more we believe in ourselves, the more likely we are to act in a way conducive to success. Starting each day with a positive affirmation or with a positive mantra song can inject positivity into your day and done consistently can truly make a difference to our inner beliefs 

  1. Ask them for their opinion

Asking for children’s advice and opinions on subjects and scenarios makes them feel valued and teaches them they have a voice in this world. This not only builds self-esteem but also allows them to process their thoughts and feelings about different situations and encourages them to make decisions and be assertive which will serve them well throughout life.  

  1. Give them a choice

Even though adults are very much in control when it comes to children, nobody likes to feel controlled, and I believe it is important to create opportunities throughout the day where children can have a choice and feel like they are autonomous. We will still oversee those choices, and guide children in the right direction. However, by allowing them the chance to choose from two options (any more than that can be overwhelming), their confidence will be boosted, and you may find that you get less ‘pushback’ throughout the day.  

Here are some examples of how to give a choice: 

  • Present 2 different clothes options each day 
  • Ask them if they want their lunch now or in 10 minutes 
  • Allow them to choose which area they want to tidy up (give 2 options) 
  • Let them choose from 2 books for story time 
  • Let them choose from 2 snacks 
  1. Let them take healthy risks

It can be scary to let children take risks and our instinct is always to swoop in a ‘save’ them. However, by allowing children to take healthy, age-appropriate chances, they have the opportunity to learn their boundaries, overcome physical challenges, strengthen their senses and build their self-esteem. Keeping children safe in a setting or home must be a priority. However, their environment needs to stimulate and challenge them because this will not only boost confidence but also raise the limit of their comfort zone and help them develop a positive ‘can-do’ attitude. 

About the author:

Stacey Kelly, the creative mind behind Early Years Story Box, wears the dual hats of writer and illustrator. Her storybooks are carefully crafted to teach various life lessons whilst guiding children towards their subsequent developmental stages. Stacey's overarching goal is to extend her reach and offer support to a multitude of children through the engaging medium of storytelling.

About the author:

Stacey Kelly, the creative mind behind Early Years Story Box, wears the dual hats of writer and illustrator. Her storybooks are carefully crafted to teach various life lessons whilst guiding children towards their subsequent developmental stages. Stacey's overarching goal is to extend her reach and offer support to a multitude of children through the engaging medium of storytelling.

About the author:

Stacey Kelly, the creative mind behind Early Years Story Box, wears the dual hats of writer and illustrator. Her storybooks are carefully crafted to teach various life lessons whilst guiding children towards their subsequent developmental stages. Stacey's overarching goal is to extend her reach and offer support to a multitude of children through the engaging medium of storytelling.

Helping Anxious Children Thrive!

Helping Anxious Children Thrive!

Imagine being taken out for the day, but you don’t know where you are going, when (or if) you are going to get fed, who you are going to see and when you are going to come home again. Does that sound like fun? To many of us, it really doesn’t. It sounds scary because everything will feel out of control – we don’t know what is happening and that can leave us feeling vulnerable and anxious.  

It's the same for children. When they don’t know what is coming up in their day life feels out of control anxious. This is scary and leaves them feeling unsettled and anxious about their day. Bear in mind that young children don’t have the experience that we have to know that they will most likely end up having a lovely time. This is especially true when they are being handed to adults that they don’t know very well.  

Understanding Anxious Children

Quite often as adults we forget to tell our children what is happening in their day – I know that I am guilty of this as a parent. We assume they know what is coming up, but have we actually taken the time to explain their day to them, in a way that they can understand and remember? On arriving at your early years setting, especially in their first few days, an anxious child will have all sorts of unanswered questions brewing in their head: 

  • What other children will be there? 
  • Will that nice adult be there? 
  • What if I don’t like the food? 
  • What if I can’t find the toilet in time? 
  • What activities will I be doing? 
  • Will I like the activities? 
  • When do I get to go home? 

Although they may not be able to verbalise it, a young child is likely to have many similar thoughts to this. Their day ahead is unknown to them and this makes them anxious.  

Effective Communication Strategies

So how can we make things easier for the anxious child? Communicate to them what is happening in a way that they can understand. As an early years practitioner, I’m sure you already have a routine set up in your setting. Although this may just seem like the obvious thing to do from an organisational point of view, it’s actually a great way of helping children to feel safe, plus it also boosts their self-esteem as they are able to navigate their way through the day with a degree of independence. You can take your routine a step further by communicating it to children in a simple, clear way that they can process – by using a visual timetable.  

Creating A Supportive Environment 

Using pictures to show what is going to be happening each day offers the chance for a child to find out what is happening in a way that supports processing and is very clear to understand. Once a child knows what is coming up and can see those important details such as when lunch is, what their day will involve and when they get to go home, they will start to feel calm and settled. Life no longer feels out of control, and this can massively reduce their anxiety. It’s no different to us depending on a diary or to-do list to remind us what we have coming up in our day or week.  

A child with separation anxiety will particularly benefit from this enhanced communication because you are able to show them the answer, in a clear and simple way, to their biggest question – when do I get to see my main carer again? 

Another way you can support anxious children, and in fact all children, is to help develop their emotional understanding. When you give children the opportunity to recognise different feelings in others through stories and conversations, they can then begin to recognise them in themselves and gradually begin to manage them. Having a feelings chart or feelings cards available means that a child who struggles to find the words can communicate to you how they are feeling. It’s also really important that they are offered a safe space in which they can express these feelings.  You can create this by being the children’s role model and remaining calm as a child shows any big emotions they need to express. 

Bear in mind that some children may come to you with sensory needs. It may be that their anxiety is heightened because something in the environment such as a light or noise, or perhaps something they are wearing, is really bothering them. In this instance, it really is a question of identifying what is causing the distress and removing this for the child. 

A lot of what I have discussed above comes from the ability to recognise what life feels like from the child’s point of view. If you have a particularly anxious child attending your setting then try to see things through their eyes – what are the barriers to helping them feel settled? What could you put in place to help them feel more at ease? Remember, all behaviour is communication so an anxious child is letting you know that something isn’t quite right for them. Sadly, the real reason might not be something you can fix within your setting, but recognising ways to support this child can still go a long way towards making life that little bit easier for them, and allowing them to feel calmer and happier as they spend their time with you.  

Priya Kanabar

About the author:

Gina Smith is the founder of Create Visual Aids, a small business on a mission to make visual communication accessible to all. She is a Mum to two girls, plus a former teacher with experience teaching in both mainstream and special schools. She is also a school SEND link governor and a tutor for children and adults with learning difficulties.  Gina is passionate about enabling communication using visual symbols and has created a whole range of resources that help families, schools, and nurseries support their children in both understanding what is happening and expressing their wants and needs. 

Priya Kanabar

About the author:

Gina Smith is the founder of Create Visual Aids, a small business on a mission to make visual communication accessible to all. She is a Mum to two girls, plus a former teacher with experience teaching in both mainstream and special schools. She is also a school SEND link governor and a tutor for children and adults with learning difficulties.  Gina is passionate about enabling communication using visual symbols and has created a whole range of resources that help families, schools, and nurseries support their children in both understanding what is happening and expressing their wants and needs. 

Priya Kanabar

About the author:

Gina Smith is the founder of Create Visual Aids, a small business on a mission to make visual communication accessible to all. She is a Mum to two girls, plus a former teacher with experience teaching in both mainstream and special schools. She is also a school SEND link governor and a tutor for children and adults with learning difficulties.  Gina is passionate about enabling communication using visual symbols and has created a whole range of resources that help families, schools, and nurseries support their children in both understanding what is happening and expressing their wants and needs. 

Malnutrition And Poverty Surge In 2024

Malnutrition And Poverty Surge In 2024

It is 2024 and humankind can launch spaceships to the moon, communicate across the globe in an instant and trust artificial intelligence to diagnose some of our illnesses. Yet despite these amazing achievements, our world and our society in the UK is still held back by a basic lack of nutritious food for some people. Poverty and malnutrition should be confined to the history books but unfortunately, the statistics about these things in the UK make startling reading.  

Poverty And Food Insecurity 

  • The number of children living in food poverty nearly doubled in the year ending 2022 
  • According to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), in 2021/22, approximately 4.7 million people (including 12% of children) in the UK lived in food-insecure households meaning they did not have access to sufficient food, or food of an adequate quality, to meet their basic needs 
  • In June 2023, a tracker reported that 9 million adults in the UK (17% of households) experienced moderate or severe food insecurity, a significant increase from 7.3% in June 2021 
  • Nearly a quarter of households with children also face food insecurity 
  • People in relative poverty live in a household with income less than 60% of the contemporary median income 
  • More than 760,000 people used a Trussell Trust food bank for the first time in 2022/23, a 38% increase from 2021/22 

Malnutrition 

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) defines a person as malnourished if they meet any of the following criteria: 

  • BMI (Body Mass Index) less than 18.5 kg/m² 
  • Unintentional weight loss greater than 10% within the past 3–6 months 
  • BMI less than 20 kg/m² and unintentional weight loss greater than 5% in the past 3–6 months 

In the UK, approximately 1.3 million people over the age of 65 suffer from malnutrition, with 93% of them living in the community, and in care homes approximately 35% of residents are at risk of malnutrition. A report in 2020 said that nearly 2,500 children under 16 had been admitted to hospital with malnutrition in the first six months of that year.  

These figures highlight the importance of addressing poverty and malnutrition to improve the well-being of children in the UK.  

The impacts of poverty and malnutrition in children are far reaching. It affects their material, social, educational and emotional well-being on many levels. When children’s basic needs are not catered for, they cannot focus on other things such as learning and education. If this happens in the early years, then children can find it very difficult to catch up with their peers later because there is so much brain and physical development in the first 5 years of life. It also affects their educational achievements and resilience.  

As early years practitioners, we are not expected to be able to solve the social problems of society, but there are ways in which we can help mitigate the impact on the children in our care. These include:   

 

  1. Ensure you offer healthy and nutritious food 
    Ensuring that the food you serve is healthy and nutritious can help children receive at least one good meal a day. Even if you are not providing lunches, you can offer plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables at snack time. The Food for Life website has lots of information about good food and how educational settings can help through campaigns, awards and sharing best practice. Their website contains lots of information about growing and preparing food, nutrition and recipes. For Government information, see https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/example-menus-for-early-years-settings-in-england
  2. Educate children and families
    Education is vital if children are to understand the basics of nutrition and how they can feed themselves healthily as adults. Getting involved in various awareness days relating to food, growing food or cooking food is a good place to start and there is something for everyone from Pancake Day to British Pea Week. These days are also a great way to invite parents/carers and families to your setting to raise their awareness of the issues too. For a list of British national food weeks and days, see https://lovebuyingbritish.co.uk/events/national-food-weeks-and-days/. Remember too that nutrition starts with breastfeeding so you can include information and resources about this too. 
  3. Early identification of problems and safeguarding awareness
    Effective early intervention can substantially reduce the impact of poverty on children’s development where the interventions are sufficiently intensive and reach the families in most need. As early years practitioners, we have a duty to safeguard the children in our care and to raise concerns with the relevant children’s services if we are worried. Early help such as using Team Around the Family (TAF) support and parenting help can be initiated if needed. 
  4. Ensure eligible parents/carers receive free school meals and/or other benefits
    England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have different eligibility criteria for free school meals, although all children in state infant schools in England in Reception year, year 1 and year 2 can all receive them. Statistics show that not all children who are eligible for free school meals are accessing them, so more needs to be done to help signpost parents to important information. Direct parents to https://www.gov.uk/apply-free-school-meals to apply or https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/family/free-school-meals/ for more information. Pregnant women and parents on certain benefits with children under 4 may also be eligible for the Healthy Start program which gives eligible people money to buy milk and some fresh fruit/vegetables.
  5. Sign up to Fareshare
    Nurseries can also sign up to the Fareshare scheme which redistributes surplus food to charities and community groups. The scheme helps to prevent food waste and participating nurseries can use the donations to supplement existing food supplies and offer it to families to take home but ensure there is discretion here to avoid embarrassment to families. 
  6. Additional help from the industry for families in crisis
    In a survey undertaken by Early Education, many early years settings reported that they were already going above and beyond their educational remit and offering both practical and financial support to parents in need. You can read the report at https://early-education.org.uk/early-years-sector-provides-crucial-help-to-families-in-poverty/ but some examples included settings who: 
  • Offered additional places and sessions or free holiday clubs 
  • Gave practical support with transport, utilities or allowing parents to use washing machines 
  • Donated clothing 
  • Funded external trips 
  • Set up breakfast and after-hours clubs
  • Obviously, what your setting can do will depend on your own time and resources, but even an increased awareness of the problems among practitioners will help.
The Power Of Physical Literacy For Early Years

The Power Of Physical Literacy For Early Years

Physical Literacy: What Does It Mean?

Physical Literacy definition from National Library of Medicine: ‘disposition to capitalise on our human-embodied capability wherein the individual has the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge, and understanding to value and take responsibility for maintaining purposeful physical pursuits and activities throughout the life course.’

In other words, as early years educators, our role is to encourage children to adopt an approach where they are motivated, confident, skilled, and knowledgeable enough to value and eventually take responsibility for staying active throughout their lives. 

Building Foundations: The Power Of Early Literacy

Physical Literacy doesn’t just happen on its own. It is quite a lot of hard work for the body and brain to develop a vocabulary of movements. These movements are observed, copied, and learnt.    

Our foundation of movement vocabulary starts in early childhood. Fundamental movement skills are required for walking, dancing, and elite sports. These skills are learnt with constant practice and repetition. 

The learnt movement vocabulary is what helps children, and adults move with confidence and competence. When a child is confident and competent, with their movement vocabulary, they can move on the ground indoors and outdoors, in and on the water, and on snow and ice.   

How are you as a setting demonstrating a foundation of movement vocabulary for your little ones? The resource from the Youth Sport Trust is a great reference for you and your team.  https://www.youthsporttrust.org/media/xl1dyrzb/early-years-physical-literacy-framework.pdf 

Providing opportunities for your little ones, no matter their needs, is vital especially as the recent ‘Active Lives Children and Young People’s Survey’ has revealed worrying results.  The survey showed that less than half of children achieve the guidelines for exercise. And a third are active for less than 30 minutes a day.    

This survey shows how important it is for Early Years educators to find ways to encourage our little ones to enjoy physical activity as they develop their movement vocabulary.   Neglecting finding ways to encourage them will have a huge impact on their future health and physical literacy outcomes.  

How Can We Help Them? 

We need to show children, and adults, all the different, fun, and creative ways to be active and have fun.  You and your team need to model this behaviour as all their movement vocabulary is learnt from observation, copying, and repeating. By doing this we are creating a positive experience of movement for your children, and team, that will have a huge impact on their lives. 

Yes, some children don’t have any interest, or physical ability, to engage in specific sport-led activities. And this is fine, as we are all different. They just haven’t discovered what lights their ‘Fire!’ so to speak… The solution is to introduce your children to as many activities as possible. Let them find, with you, what they enjoy and encourage them to develop their movement vocabulary in ways that work for them including interactive creative role-play. 

Remember this goes for the adults as well. Some of you may not have had the most positive experiences of sport at school. These experiences impact your interest in, and delivery of physical activities and how you encourage your children.    

To help them we need to consider how we as adults can ensure we have a positive relationship with movement in our environment and how to encourage our children to build positive relationships with all types of physical activities. 

On top of all the physical benefits movement helps to enhance cognitive functions such as attention, memory, decision-making, social, and psychological development.   

In a BOX:  

Did you know… Movement grows your brain through the Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) release which stimulates growth.  

And we mustn’t forget Mr Myelin…  Mr Myelin is Professor George Bartzokis (1956-2014), a neuroscientist and Professor of Psychiatry.  

Myelin is the insulation that tightly wraps around our nerve fibres. Each time we repeat a movement it wraps the Myelin, like electrical tape to prevent any leaks, around that part of the circuitry we used in the brain to recreate the movement. Myelin increases the speed and accuracy of the signal strength in our brain ie. the upload and download speed of our brain. Some people talk about ‘muscle memory’ but it is Myelin. Myelin has been attributed as the key to talking, reading, learning skills, and even, being human. 

Bartzokis originated the theory that the degeneration of the brain’s myelin contributed to many developmental and degenerative diseases. Such as Schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s. Continued research shows the importance of myelin in the brain and how it ensures everything runs smoothly.  So remember, if you don’t use it, you lose it! 

Myelin And Language  

In a BOX: ‘Reduced myelin in key areas of the brain necessary for learning rules, speaking, and listening may impair language acquisition in children.’ 

Quantitative MRI reveals differences in striatal myelin in children with DLD Saloni Krishnan, Gabriel J Cler ... Kate E Watkins Myelin initially builds on the sensorimotor white matter and the Heschl gyrus (the structure containing the human primary auditory cortex in the brain) and then, 

extends to the language-related areas. Physical literacy in the Early Years and its relationship with speech and language, is looked at in the article: ‘Myelination of language-related areas in the developing brain’ by J. Pujol, et al, 2006. 

Just A Little Reminder For The Adults 

This diagram from the Gov.UK website is a great reminder of why we all need to be active throughout our lives and the importance of creating a positive environment for children, and adults, in your setting. 

Discover the secrets of physical literacy and its impact on lifelong health. Dive into the essential guide for early years education.

About the author:

Gina is a dynamic and accomplished educator with a rich background in movement and dance. Initially trained in ballet, she has dedicated the past 27 years to imparting her passion for movement and dance across various educational settings, ranging from mainstream to early years and SEND environments, as well as esteemed dance schools.

About the author:

Gina is a dynamic and accomplished educator with a rich background in movement and dance. Initially trained in ballet, she has dedicated the past 27 years to imparting her passion for movement and dance across various educational settings, ranging from mainstream to early years and SEND environments, as well as esteemed dance schools.

About the author:

Gina is a dynamic and accomplished educator with a rich background in movement and dance. Initially trained in ballet, she has dedicated the past 27 years to imparting her passion for movement and dance across various educational settings, ranging from mainstream to early years and SEND environments, as well as esteemed dance schools.

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