"Activate in the Classroom" was created and designed by Val Sabin to be easy to use, age specific, inclusive, progressively staged, repeated patterns of movement with music programmes. The activities are designed to help pupils become more agile, better balanced, better coordinated, better controlled and more precise in their movements. Pupils improve their listening attention and concentration capabilities as their neurological systems also become better, fitter and faster.
These age level physical fluency programmes are also designed to improve the development and efficiency of pupils' cerebellar-vestibular systems. This is because of clinical practice and research findings that link a wide variety of dyslexic, dyspraxic, ADHD, Aspergic and various learning dysfunction symptoms to neurological developmental delay. All pupils in school Activate classes are improving in most aspects of their physical fluency and many other benefits are bing reported.
Hundreds of thousands of pupils now use Activate. These patterns of movement to music programmes take a whole class of pupils through 3-dimensional repetitive movement activities within their personal stand-up space. Each exercise is to music which enables the tempo and rhythm in the movements of the pupils to be varied through changes in the music. The pupils are also having practice in the conscious active listening skills of "filtering", "analysing" and "responding" as they move to the music. Their listening skills, attention spans or concentration stamina also gradually increases.
The in-class patterns of movement to music are designed for daily use at 9am, after registration, for about 10 minutes and for 5 minutes immediately after lunch at the start of the afternoon. The excercises can also be used as energisers or refocus activities at any time during the day.
Activate movement to music programmes are repeated for 2 weeks, then moved up a step through a progressive and developmental 36 week structure. The extra activity extensions provided can be introduced at a speed to suit the class. Every 9th week there is provision for the pupils to created their own programme from their favourites or their own original movement ideas.
The exercises in the progressive steps utilise the best vertical movement principles that are possible standing up in the restricted space of a classroom. Moving pupils to an adjacent hall or playground to enable equipment to be used is not necessary and a change of clothing is not required
The activities are fun to do and many of the extensions are curriculum-linked, e.g. as the scheme levels progress into combination activities it is possible to include rhythmic recitation of numbers, tables, words, letters, spelling, second languages, poems, historical lists etc. Further combinations and progressions in the later age scheme levels include interaction in pairs and opportunities for individual creativity of movement. Each pack comes with 3 programmes - Frogs, Rabbits, Kangaroos - a DVD for each programme, two complete quick reference DVDs and 3 CDs of the music. There are approximately 120 activities, progressions and extensions in each Activate age level pack for 5, 7, 9, 11 or 13.
Each age level scheme covers 2 school years, with the Rabbits programme for the younger year and the Kangaroos programme for the older year. The slower Frogs programmes being for Special Needs groups or for slower groups of children. The Frogs, Rabbits and Kangaroos programmes for each age level are integrated to allow movement between them if necessary.
The Activate exercises are particularly designed to improve various elements of physical fluency, stimulate the cerebellar-vestibular systems and intensively exercise the neural connections between the right and left hemispheres of the brain. The core activity, progression and extension exercises provide a very comprehensive upper and lower body gross-motor exercise range. Also included are fine motor exercises, balance moves, hand-eye co-ordination moves, eye exercises and speech patterns, all to sound rhythms.
The influences inspiring the development and direction of the Activate schemes:
The extra balance and eye exercise extensions in the second edition have been added as a result of a greater understanding of their importance. This has followed neuroscience of movement tutorials from DR. Roy Rutherford, the Research Director of the Dore Achievement Centres, generously arranged by Wynford Dore. Second edition programmes now contain around 120 core activities, progressions and extensions in each Activate 5, 7, 9, 11 and 13 age level scheme.
Each Activate manual describes in words and shows in figure-diagram forms precisely how each activity needs to be executed for the pupils to fully benefit. This allows the teacher to be able to stand in front of the class and lead the exercises. Alternatively, the DVDs also show each morning and afternoon session with movements being performed to the music thus allowing the class to proceed by watching the DVD. Alternatively, some teachers allow various pupils to lead the class in the Activate movements. A simple ten-point physical fluency checklist for visual assessment is now included.
"the best thing I arranged for my schools during my 3-year Partnership Development Plan."
One Partnership Development Managers description of Activate (12/6)
"We would not consider not using Activate. The benefits have been so great."
A Head comments
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