Social development of primary aged children through a movement education program
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Unique in Canada, is a university based movement program offered to children aged 1-12 which is diverse and inclusive in its design to foster healthy physical, cognitive, affective and social development. The purpose of this study is to investigate how children's involvement in a weekly movement education program influences their social development. The primary-aged children involved in this research are participants in the university based Saturday morning program, The Children's Movement Program (CMP), in which creative dance, educational gymnastics and developmental games are employed to enhance optimal development. The 15 participants were systematically observed for 8 weeks as they naturally engaged in the program's activities. Interviews were conducted with both children and their caregivers throughout the duration of the program. Particular attention was paid to the perceptions of caregivers regarding the advantages of a program based upon principles of movement education. Results indicate that participation in the program increases children's opportunity to interact socially and address ways in which program content, pedagogy and context encourage social development. A figure was developed with these components to assist teachers in creating inclusive and meaningful movement experiences. 'Content' is referred to as the material to be learned or the desired outcome for the learner. 'Pedagogy' refers to the process in which the student will engage and 'Context' refers to the environment in which the experience occurs (eg. skating rink with playground balls). It is recommended that each is thoroughly addressed individually for its potential in lesson design.