Join The ‘Disco Friday’ Revolution
Disco Friday started happening in the Battelley household 18 years ago! After a busy week, it became too easy to sit and watch television, so we started a revolution. Every Friday from 6pm we danced. Cushions were removed from the sofa and used as floor mats for tumble time and jumping, disco ball was turned on, music played and we boogied…we danced ourselves dizzy. After the dancing we felt energised and elated. After a bubbly bath and a story my sons slept soundly. What better way to celebrate the end of the working week!
Why Disco Friday Revolution?
Movement underpins all learning in early childhood. Sensory experiences, interactions and physical activity are all responsible for the development of a child’s brain. The more experiences to which a child is exposed, the greater the development.
Statistics show as children get older they participate less in physical activity and this subsequently impacts on physical and emotional health. Most recent UK studies suggest that 12% of children arrive at nursery overweight or obese and this figure is rising, 22% in reception and 32% in KS2. (The national childhood measurement programme 2017/18). In 2018 91% of UK 4-year-olds were not getting the recommended (CMO) amount of daily physical activity (180 mins per day).
When children partake in successful experiences ‘getting something right’ they acquire self-esteem and gain confidence, this is particularly accurate in the motor domain. Developing a delight in activity through positive experiences will encourage continued involvement. By creating fun and engaging physical play opportunities we can build a secure relationship with sport and physical activity to maintain sustainable involvement in later life.
Sharing these experiences as families will create a secure bond to freely express emotions and develop creativity.
Taking your dance and movement experiences outside will enhance the activities and open up a world of possibilities.
No child has ever stated…. ‘I often recall the day when we all watched TV together!’
Be active, smile more.
Happiness – the state of feeling or showing pleasure to find true happiness
Through physical activity children will:
Increase stamina, strength, and mobility.
Stimulate brain connections and cement neural pathways.
Develop motor skills in agility, stability, co-ordination, musicality, balance, spatial awareness and control.
Have a transfer of skills; problem solving, decision making, creativity and reasoning.
Release endorphins, which make us feel happy.
Freedom of self expression
Self confidence in our actions.
Our bodies are designed to move.
Increase blood flow around the body and to the brain.
Increase serotonin levels.
The best way to create movement opportunities with your child will depend on each child and their development.
- Provide a scaffolding approach for children, support them, but do not take over.
Share ideas, copy each other, children love to mimic others as they learn about the world.
Use a wide variety of music, ensure the music isn’t too loud for tiny ears.
- Be careful that the lyrics are suitable – get everyone to sing along to the chorus
- Allow children to discover new movements.
- Add some structured moves that are easy to follow and perform – eg. clapping/stamping/kneebends/stretching/jumping/twirling
- Don’t forget you can use the floor to spin on/roll about
- Compare movements to animals; move like a snake, lion, dog, fish, giraffe, horse.
- Maybe focus on just one body part – eg wiggling hips/shaking hands/different jumps
Free movement is great for everyone – do whatever you like – just enjoy!
Ensure you have a safe, comfortable, environment to move.
- check for any sharp corners – obstacles – anything that may be a trip hazard
- Make sure the children are dressed appropriately – and they can move freely – and footwear is suitable
Provide exciting stimuli.
- maybe a colourful ribbon
- some pom-poms
- bubbles or balloons
Introduce interesting vocabulary; upside down, faster, slower, inside, underneath, travelling, shimmy, shaking, weaving, zigzag, sideways, around, spin, twirl, high, low, wobbly.
Let infants who aren’t walking yet do their own thing – you can carry them – or they can sit on your knee to join in – be as active as possible with them!
Helen Battelley – International early years movement specialist and dance teacher.
Raising awareness of the importance of movement in early education.