When my writing partner, Cheryl McCarthy and I sat down to talk about writing my second book, her first question to me was "why do you want to write this book?"
I explained that I believe movement is the under-appreciated piece of the early childhood puzzle, and that I wanted parents and teachers to understand the vital role movement plays in helping little ones reach their fullest potential.
I sat back, fully satisfied with my answer and thought, job done. Writing this book is going to be a snap.
Cheryl paused, leaned forward and rephrased the question. "No. I meant, why do you WANT to write this book? What's in it for YOU?"
I was stumped. My mind raced. Tears welled. I leaned forward for the words and managed a whisper. "I wish I knew then what I know now."
There it was. My 30 year quest to uncover what makes kids tick was actually a personal journey to understand myself through the lens of the two most important roles of my life -- parent and teacher.
Knowing what I know now, I really was ready to write this book. And I was (and still am) humbled by the thought.
With gratitude to our families and friends for all of their support over the past three years, and the amazing team at Free Spirit Publishing for their guidance and partnership, Cheryl and I are so pleased to share with you the first excerpt from A Moving Child Is a Learning Child.
And so it begins...
Opening Passage from...
A Moving Child Is a Learning Child
All learning begins with the body. It has to. Itʼs our point of reference—our own personal, portable True North, so to speak. And for children, itʼs even more because the body is the brainʼs first teacher.
And the lesson plan is movement.
From grasping your finger to grasping her rattle to grasping the mechanics of crawling, standing, walking, jumping, and those hurtling-headlong-hugs, every move a young child makes—intentional or accidental—leads to learning. Movement develops her physical capabilities, of course. But at the same time, it is building sensory perceptions and critical pathways in the brain necessary to reach her full potential.
It's been well reported that within the first years of childhood, approximately 90 percent of the neural pathways in the brain will be set for life. Those pathways determine how a child thinks and learns, but more, they will shape who she becomes . . . her passions and pursuits, triumphs and challenges, inner reflections, outer reactions, and outlook on life . . . all flowing through the neural network built by her earliest physical and sensory experiences.
With breathtaking simplicity, nature has created this move-to-learn process to be both dynamic and self-perpetuating, building the body and brain simultaneously. As such, the more a child moves, the more she stimulates her brain. The more the brain is stimulated, the more movement is required to go get more stimulation. In this way, nature gently coaxes the child to explore beyond her current boundaries towards her own curiosity to acquire new capabilities. And that, of course, is what we call learning.
Adapted from A Moving Child Is a Learning Child: How the Body Teaches the Brain to Think by Gill Connell and Cheryl McCarthy, copyright © 2013. Used with permission of Free Spirit Publishing Inc., Minneapolis, MN; 800-735-7323; www.freespirit.com. All rights reserved.
Thank you to all our readers for your continued support for our work, and your love, care, and advocacy for children everywhere.
A Moving Child Is a Learning Child will be available now!