In 2012, GymbaROO Canberra was approached by a childcare centre to educate their carers about child neuro-development and to give the staff ideas of activities they could do during the week to help the children in their centre reach their developmental milestones. This led to our staff running a customised GymbaROO program consisting of mat time only, once a week in this centre. Today, GymbaROO sensorimotor programs are operating in four childcare centres in Canberra. Two of these have been running the program for four years and two centres have commenced this year. This has led to very rewarding partnerships between GymbaROO and these childcare centres.
One of the predictable, yet thoroughly rewarding observations we see is that children who have participated in the program from a young age are reaching their milestones with ease and confidence, showing clear evidence that their foundational building blocks for learning are securely in place. All later learning depends on this. Furthermore, we see the children becoming independent and eager to try new skills at an earlier age.
The best results are achieved when the weekly session of activities run by the GymbaROO staff are, with the encouragement of centre staff, practiced regularly by the children. Repetition is important for mastering skills and achieving milestones, so it’s what children do every day, whether at home or whilst in care, that makes a difference! Another exciting observation we see in the childcare centres is the children tend to become more creative with equipment, we have gathered so many ideas, which we then incorporate into the sessions both at the childcare centres and back at GymbaROO.
In childcare centres, our GymbaROO sessions run from non-mobile babies up to five years of age. Classes run between 30 and 45 minutes depending upon the age of the children. The children and staff are fully engaged for the whole session and have a wonderful time while learning. For many of the children and staff it is a highlight of their week in care. We have even had some parents changing their childcare days so they can participate in the program. The feedback from parents, children and childcare staff is extremely positive. The GymbaROO staff members who teach at the centres find it to be highly rewarding too!
Kristie Ryan: GymbaROO consultant, Canberra.
Image: Kara Hammell from Tuggeranong Child Care and Education Centre
GymbaROO sensorimotor programs are run at Majura Park Childcare Centre, Forrest Early Childhood Centre, Acacia Children’s Education & Care Centre
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