After seeing the pictures above, if you were simply asked which pyramid is easier to build & is sturdy, the obvious answer would be – the first one. With the current trends in modern education, essentially, the second pyramid is being built. Counter-productive, is it not?
Levels Of Sensory Integration In Learning-
The pyramids that have been shown above actually symbolise these pyramids. The Pyramid Of Sensory Integration. It is fundamentally the natural flow of learning a child should follow to ensure learning with ease. When we take a look at the picture -Fig.3, a few things are visible and notable-
1. Touch (Tactile), Movement & Balance (Vestibular), Sense of Self in Space (Proprioception) are foundational learning inputs.
2. The second layer comprises of other senses.
3. Movement is the third layer.
4. Skills like language, learning and communication are at the apex.
What does that tell you?
1. The two foundational layers out of three – the first and third have a lot to do with body and movement. (tactile, vestibular, proprioception, motor planning, body scheme, reflex maturity etc.)
2. The second layer is centric to other senses.
This makes it clear that in the conventional schooling system there is a dire need for more movement based lesson plans (Kinesthetic lesson plans). There are some places where attempts have been made to bridge the gaps.
- Pre-schools have incorporated teaching methods that stimulate the 5 basic senses (touch, smell, hearing, eyesight and taste). Even so, important foundational senses like vestibular sense and the sense of proprioception do not receive adequate & conscious stimulation.
- It has also been observed that many educational institutes focus highly on developing the tactile sense (touch) because it has a direct carry over to writing. But one will be surprised to know that developing spatial awareness can also aid in reading, organising written work, understanding abstract math concepts and help reproduce patterns and shape.
Having said this, the question remains, why is there not a lot of serious and conscious work being done around body & movement? When it clearly forms almost 2/3rd part of the three foundation layers.
Need Of The Hour:
1) Extensive use of kinesthetic lesson plans.
2) Reducing the time of sitting and learning drastically.
3) Minimise the use of audio-visual tools if it involves children sitting and staring at the screen for a long time.
4) Involving the full body in learning, not just sitting and learning.
Building a strong base in movement, touch, balance and sense of self in the foundational years comes first, even before moving to academic skills like communication and language. Even so, when we take a gander at the curriculum of any conventional educational institute, we would find extensive amounts of attention paid to academic aspects like reading and writing, but little to no guidance for the base and crucial aspects of the pyramid.
It May Seem Challenging:
Though it may seem challenging to enforce a kinesthetic curriculum and manage an active classroom environment, it only requires a few changes. A change in mindset of the teacher and a few active classroom management techniques. Here at Agile Kids with our Dance & Creative Movement curriculum we have been very successful in conducting an active class which is safe and involves complete body involvement just by helping our teachers & students understand safe movement v/s no movement. So with just a few changes we can achieve a stress free learning environment.