What is the philosophy behind GymbaROO?
No matter how skilled today’s parents may be in their professional life, they are rarely prepared for the most important task they will ever undertake, and which will greatly influence their lives - the part they play in early years of their child’s development.
The science behind our program
Scientific research has shown that a child’s brain develops fastest in the earliest years of life. We now know the crucial importance of the correct stimulation during this period to improve a child’s development intellectually, physically and emotionally and to help lay down solid foundations which will allow children to maximise their future learning abilities. We also now know that lack of these developmental opportunities can result in motor delay and learning difficulties.
Why movement matters
There is a direct relationship between activities and the stimulation children receive when they are babies and young children and their ability to do well at school. Extensive research has shown that the better a young child's neuro-physiological development, the better will be their ability to read and learn. Neuro-physiological development occurs when the brain creates the connections as it learns about the body, the world around it and learns to move in response.
The first five years of a child’s life are the most important for brain development.
The effect of our modern world
Times have changed. Today many of the key opportunities that in the past encouraged 'natural' development are no longer available to children. As a result of interferences that our modern society brings, babies and children of today have much reduced opportunities to move, play and develop, all of which is having an impact on the developing child's brain. These interferences include; safety/litigation concerns; convenience; ultra-busy lives; reduced opportunities to move and play - smaller blocks of land for living, parks with equipment that does not spin, sway or rock; lack of tummy time for infants; lots of 'containers' in which our babies are slept, carried and pushed - that prevent movement; too much 'screen' time, (computers, TV, ipod etc) and changes in diet, (lots of processed, adulterated foods).
Putting the 'natural' back into development
In our natural evolutionary past, nature provided much of the necessary stimuli, and we evolved to imbed these into our natural developmental processes. A simple analogy: it is accepted as basic knowledge that play in baby animals is about developing later survival skills for when they are adults. So is it reasonable to take the 'natural' out of life and still expect our children to maximise their future learning abilities?
How does GymbaROO assist a child to experience the most beneficial experiences for healthy development of the brain and body?
GymbaROO was founded in 1982 on the premise that the neurological development of the young child is integrally linked to later learning and development. Based on the ever increasing scientific knowledge about neuro-physiology and neuro-development, the program has evolved into a highly effective and comprehensive series of classes for babies from six weeks to school aged children.
The basis to GymbaROO
GymbaROO was founded on the basis that particular natural early experiences are essential for being able to learn and read easily at school. Read about why and how GymbaROO was established – it’s truly an amazing story of an amazing woman and helps you understand why we are so passionate about what we do.
At GymbaROO, we work on the premise that learning is sensory motor based and can be systematically developed on a physiological basis to promote academic readiness. In today’s world, we believe the ‘wait and see' and 'she’ll be right' attitude is fraught with risk. There is just too much interference from the modern way of life.
This means that babies and small children need lots of the appropriate sensory stimulation and lots of opportunities to move.
Because the brain develops in a very logical and sequential manner, certain sensory and movement experiences are more beneficial at certain ages. For example, the brain is most receptive to learning language in the first eleven months of life! It is the same for motor development. The patterns of movement are like building blocks for the next level of movement skill. That’s why babies crawl on their tummies before creeping on all fours, cruising the furniture and finally walking.
At GymbaROO, our classes are based on the appropriate sensory and movement experiences required for healthy brain development. We are not focused on making children better than everyone else… our aim is to help children develop to their own potential, whatever that may be.
Healthy brain development is the foundation for future learning
Development is sequential and based on a child’s experiences. Developmental milestones are a record of this sequential pathway of development and at GymbaROO we aim to ensure that babies and young children are given the opportunity to meet all the developmental milestones. These early patterns of movement provide the foundational neuronal pathways in the brain that enable higher–order thinking to occur.
Stimulating brain development
Baroness Susan Greenfield studies brain cells and how the brain is 'organised' and she tells us that we are literally born with billions of brain cells. As we experience the world, those brain cells connect. Gradually, when used repeatedly, those connections form superhighways that transmit information from the body to the brain and back again. This is how we learn.
In order to stimulate some areas of the brain, we need movement. Early movement opportunities stimulate and mature the areas of the brain needed to learn at school.
- Vision, and the ability to visualise, is essential for reading and understanding what is read.
- Balance systems – essential for sitting still in the classroom and being able to pay attention.
- Auditory (listening) systems – hearing and understanding what is being said.
- Motor systems that enable children to control their body in the classroom and in physical activities.
At GymbaROO we don’t wait until a child is at school to determine if they are going to have learning (or behavior) challenges. It is much easier and less expensive to provide babies and young children with the correct movement opportunities while their brains are most receptive to stimulation. The brain has developed to expect these experiences early. This does not mean we cannot do anything when a child is older, we can but it takes more effort and time.
Providing active and appropriate movement opportunities that enable the child to explore, develop, practice and refine skills is essential for healthy neurological development.
School readiness is not a question of age, but of neurological development.
Healthy neurological development underpins later social, emotional and academic success.