How can movement enhance Social Emotional Learning in post-pandemic times? 

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Foteini Geraki, Kinems  |   2 days ago   |   2 min read

When students return to the classroom for face-to-face live instruction following months of isolation, focusing on their social and emotional skills is critically important. Enhancing social-emotional learning while improving students' academic performance, calls for educators to adopt new holistic learning approaches.

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The "Whole Child Approach" offers just such is a holistic educational approach that cultivates the spiritual, emotional, and physical dimensions of a developing child. It goes beyond their academic and future professional success, in order to prepare children to meet the overall challenges they will face later in life. Schools that follow this approach recognize their responsibility to support students’ health and happiness, in addition to their academic results, by creating the appropriate learning environment that encompasses all different learning styles providing opportunities for success in many modalities. Especially in these post-pandemic times, the establishment of a holistic teaching approach can be particularly beneficial to students. 

 

How to Implement a Holistic Approach in the Classroom

 

Kinems' Whole Child Approach has designed a “Station-Rotation” implementation model of holistic learning. Within a rotation model, students move between learning stations, either on a fixed schedule or at the teacher’s discretion. There are four recommended main stations, each one representing a different learning style and focused on developing different skills and modalities. Here is a brief description of each of the four stations.

 

The Four Main Stations

 

1. Movement Station

The key innovative station is the Movement-based immersive learning Station utilizing the Kinect camera. The teacher chooses a specific subject and learning goal, and the game is individualized for each child to play at their developmental level. Students enlist their body movements to practice ELA and Math, turning learning into a fun embodied activity! Learning through playing games offers an engaging opportunity to practice computation, executive function, problem-solving, and language skills. The mind/body connection is a powerful way to reinforce cognitive learning while improving gross and fine motor skills. Many children spent hours in front of a computer during the pandemic and now active learning can happen safely in a touchless environment. No adult cleanup is needed!

2. Technology Station

The Technology Station provides a learning experience through activities played on a laptop, desktop, or tablet. The same activities offered in the Movement Station with the chosen individualized learning goals are available with the use of a mouse or touchscreen, reinforcing eye-hand coordination, as well as fine motor skills. Just like with the movement station, progress monitoring data is available for school staff and parents.

3. Collaboration Station

At the same time, a group of students can be at another station that offers a collaborative experience working on the same goal using Kinems’ educational board games. Children interact with other students practicing social and emotional skills such as turn-taking and problem-solving together.

This station also promotes project-based learning, as children work together with their peers following their teacher’s instructions in order to complete a project, by cutting and gluing the pieces needed to build the board game. Through this process, they also practice teamwork and develop leadership skills. Language is enhanced as they converse during the process.

4. Individual Learning Station

Finally, there is an Individual Learning Station providing printable learning materials for math or writing that reinforce the concepts presented in the other three stations. Every activity of the Kinems platform has a printable form that students can use to practice the chosen learning goal using pencils, markers, and crayons. Teachers can also laminate the printables to reuse with dry-erase markers. 

Within a 30 minute class, students can experience at least two stations. Depending on their developmental level and attention span, they can rotate every 10 minutes and experience three rotations. This is especially effective in classrooms where there is a paraprofessional that assists the teacher. Since the content for all stations is available on the Kinems Platform, planning is as easy as pressing a button once the teacher searches for the goal and finds the aligned games!

There are 36 games and over 300 potential learning experiences, all customizable and aligned with IEP goals for Pre-K through grade 5. Academic learning goals are also aligned to each State’s Standards in Math and ELA. Some of the games offer sensory experiences that can provide important comfort to address anxiety or meltdowns. Finally, individual progress that students make can be downloaded and printed, or emailed to staff and parents.

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