Did you know your pre-schooler’s (age 3-4) stage of development can be summed up by PIES?
No we’re not talking about yummy pecan, blueberry or apple pie. We are actually talking about Physical, Intellectual, Emotional and Social Development of children through martial arts. Get it P…I….E….S…..:)
At American Family Martial Arts we understand and work with unique stages of all age groups. Our Tiny Tigers program, for ages 3 & 4, was specially designed for the stages of development of 3 and 4-year olds. We collected scientific and psychological resources regarding this age group, and used that information to ensure that American Family Martial Art’s program meets each child’s characteristics and capabilities.
RELATED: Helping Pre-school Children Excel Using PIES
Children between the ages of 3 and 4-years old are in a very distinct growing stage. They are embarking on new discoveries everyday and learning how to cope with all of the challenges. Their intellect, emotions,
physical capabilities, and social competence all are growing at a rapid rate. So fast, that they often overlook what’s important and can hardly tell the difference between right and wrong.
Since this is a pretty broad topic- we’re just going to focus on Intellectual development in this blog.
They typically have a limited vocabulary therefore learning is normally limited to visual and kinesthetic activities. If you think about it, they have only been speaking English for 3 or 4 years and generally know about 200+ words.
Expectations: (what we know is likely to happen)
- Lose focus when activities are over-complicated or limited to verbal instructions, and will mirror others when it is not their turn.
- Struggle with commands that have more than two instructions. So telling a 4 year old to go brush their teeth, put on a clean shirt, put on shoes and wait by the door, will COMPLETELY overwhelm them. They typically will only do 1-2 of these things and probably not in order. Nothing is wrong, their brains just haven’t developed enough to handle the sequence of events.
- Have no concept of spatial awareness, therefore they will drop things that are thrown to them and bump into people and obstacles often.
Goals: (how we help them excel)
- Follow verbal commands with no visual demonstration.
- Perform a variety of commands including multiple commands, such as left or right punch and kick.
- Demonstrate good spatial awareness by CATCHING objects thrown from various directions and distances and also ROLLING their body and other objects with control.
|So at American Family Martial Arts we focus on this important skill through the use of drills, lessons and games during our classes. Students practice CATCHING by demonstrating their ability to catch awkwardly shaped objects without dropping them.|
Classes are structured with a warm up, which helps kids get the wiggles out and focus on the activity. Next comes a mat chat to let them know what they are going to be learning and doing that day. Drills are next, but they are disguised as games so the students are engaged while learning. At the end of class, there is a mini test and students are given a stripe on their belt that represents that skill.
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Our testing cycle is 10 weeks long and each skill is repeated three times during a cycle. The skills drills are changed up each time to disguise the repetition. Plus they are FUN so the Tiny Tigers are learning without even noticing it! During the test, students demonstrate their knowledge of the skills and the following class are promoted to a new rank with a new color belt!
For this age group, classes are 30 min long. That is the amount of time they can focus before becoming overwhelmed and stop paying attention.
American Family Martial Arts ends each class with a game! A fun one is ALL PLAY DODGE BALL. The students work on their running and fine motor skills in this game by chasing and throwing the dodgeballs to hit each other. Many soft dodgeballs are handed out and the instructor calls out the name of a student. Target is switched every 10-20 seconds and sometimes includes the instructors or brave parents!
RELATED: Game Based Learning for ages 3-4
American Family Martial Arts uses the SKILLZ@ program created by Melody Johnson. We began implementing this program in 2014 for our 3-6 year olds. It was a big success-children stopped crying and so did instructors. In 2018, American Family Martial Arts (AFMA) implemented the program for our 7-14 year old age groups. This change has seen an increase in retention and happiness with our karate programs. Students are no longer over or under challenged.
RELATED: Age Specific Martial Arts Classes
With locations in both Baton Rouge and Prairieville, we serve a diverse population.