Group of children running together
Group of children running together

Washington: Marching, wiggling and tapping a beat help children develop their self-regulation skills and improve school readiness, suggest researchers. Associate professor Kate Williams designed a low-cost preschool programme focussing exclusively on rhythm and movement activities linked to pathways in the brain to support attentional and emotional development.

“Think heads, shoulders, knees, and toes but do the actions backwards while you sing forwards. It tricks the brain into gear,” said Assoc Professor Williams. The Queensland study, involving 113 children from lower socioeconomic communities, measured the effectiveness of the program to boost self-regulation skills. “Being able to control your own emotions, cognition and behaviors is an important predictor of school readiness and early school achievement,” said Prof Williams.

“The aim is for regular sessions to be introduced into the daily activities of young children to help support their attentional and emotional regulation skills, inhibition, and working memory. We want all early childhood teachers to feel confident to run these fun and important activities,” she added. The study is a unique investigation about preschool children and the application of a rhythm and movement programme to address socioeconomic-related school readiness and achievement gaps.

Prof Williams said differences in neurological processes can produce educational inequalities for young children who experience disadvantage.

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