It is my belief that students learn worse while sitting, so in my Kindergarten classroom we engage in as many kinesthetic activities as possible. Students love the energy, and their high engagement leads to strong academic achievement. These activities allow my students to work collaboratively with their peers and develop a supportive classroom community where everyone takes pride in each others' hard work, fair play, and growth.
These activities are crucial because my students have little opportunity for play at home. There are few parks in our neighborhood, and those few have little equipment. Some of my students cannot even access these playgrounds, since the housing project where they live has become increasingly violent and it is not safe for children to be outside. Needless to say, few families are able to find affordable preschool opportunities, so for most of my students, Kindergarten is their first chance to play with other children.
Given the limited opportunities for play, my students often enter Kindergarten lacking in critical skills that underlie academic achievement. Students who haven't had many chances to play catch have difficulties using scissors and tracking text - they simply haven't had enough opportunities to develop visual tracking. Students can't roll and run on grass that hides broken glass and worse, so their sense of balance is not enhanced. Without monkey bars and rings, children can't develop the core strength that makes sitting at a desk comfortable. And without opportunities to learn the elements of fair play at home, children must learn about sportsmanship and teamwork at school.
While the staff at my school is committed to developing our students' bodies AND minds, our budget and our paychecks do not allow for much in the way of equipment. I am asking for connectible scooter boards and a tunnel so that students can develop their sense of balance while working together to negotiate hanging obstacles. A balance beam will also help grow their vestibular system. I am also asking for some cooperative games that will provide opportunities to practice collaborative skills while working on visual tracking and spatial awareness.
Your support will give my students engaging opportunities to grow their muscles while building foundational academic skills. Since they will be working cooperatively, they will also enhance their ability to work together for everyone's benefit - a critical skill that will enable them to model peaceful communities at home and at school - the kind of peaceful community where a child might be able to run down a safe street to a well-equipped public playground.
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