KANGAROOS – 2½ to 3 years
Wow! Children of this age think the world is theirs. They are unaware that their little brains have yet to fully develop the ability to function so that the left and right sides of the body can manage different tasks and accomplish different skills – such as is required to hop i.e. one foot hops while the other is held up doing something different! This enables the development of many skills, such as riding a tricycle, peeling a banana and washing up. This function may have begun during the early months of the two year old, but now it blossoms.
Sessions at GymbaROO for this age group now focus on one hand and one foot activities, as it helps to consolidate all the previous skills developed in the first two years of life. GymbaROO teachers also encourage an increase in the comprehension of auditory memory skills from one instruction to two, or even three, and likewise in the visual memory through more advanced fun activities.
GymbaROO sessions at this age are geared for the development of sensory
integration and the consequent laterality, and for this reason a preferred hand
and foot is now encouraged in all one hand/foot activities. For some children,
this comes in the next year, but should be firmly established by pre-school.
Children who attend school without having developed a dominant hand and
foot may have an increased risk of learning difficulties.
The ability to do one thing with the limb of one side and another with the limb
on the other, allows for the important stage of conscious cross pattern
movements, which are the final attributes of nature to help the child’s growing
brain to work to the best of its ability. Cross pattern crawling, walking, throwing
The ‘crocodile’ pattern is now a normal part of the massage time. This is important as it not only improves a child’s overall development, but provides a vehicle for the inhibition of the primitive reflexes which cause so many ‘hiccups’ in academic learning in our schools.
For many, speech and comprehension bounds forth also at this age. Instructions are increased in complexity to allow for the development of improved auditory and visual memory, imperative for survival at school. Repetition is vital for this development at all ages.
GymbaROO incorporates a ‘visualisation program’ in all classes. This enables children to link ‘words’ to pictures and the world around them. Just like reading to your child, this creates an understanding that ‘words mean something’ and are an important part of understanding and describing our world. The words are introduced at treasure bag time, and are related to the treasure bag item as well as to life. The words used are the same as those used during earlier sessions, to ensure that they are easily recognised by the children, in the same way they learn to recognise their names. This part of the program development is guided by the success of the children as success breeds success, so is very important.
Read more: Kangaroo (2 ½ - 3 years) milestones