Learn to Move, Move to Learn: Sensorimotor Early Childhood Activity Themes
Each of the creative theme-based group lessons in this practical resource follows a sensory-integrated developmental sequence consisting of seven activities, all related to the theme. For maximum flexibility, suggestions for adaptation and modification for individual students are included, along with instructions for how to develop additional lessons, and showing how the lessons prepare children for later success in school.
Reviewed by Maureen Bennie
Director, Autism Awareness Centre Inc.
Author Jenny Clark Brack has written an excellent resource for providing best practice occupational therapy services in preschool and early childhood settings. Ms. Brack is a pediatric occupational therapist with over 14 years of experience in school settings. The knowledge she shares in this book will provide anyone working with young children in early childhood settings how to implement a sensory integration program.
The program philosophy is based on 4 points: the sensory integration model is used for activity selection, each group session is theme and literature based, a transdisciplinary approach is used (team members collaborate and share rules), and all group activities are performed in an inclusive environment.
Brack begins her book with an explanation of the sensory systems and how they work. There is a checklist provided for the identification of signs and symptoms of sensory integration and processing dysfunction. School readiness skills are addressed – how to get the children ready for school using a sensory model. The model consists of sensory issues, motorskills and social/emotional, cognitive, language and oral motor skills.
The breakdown of the session looks like the following: warm up, vestibular, proprioception, balance, eye-hand coordination, cool down, and fine motor. If adaptations need to be made or if time is limited, Brack provides the tools to do this in chapter 4. For example, the 30-minute lesson would have 4 activities: warm up, proprioception, cool down (which is a book), and fine motor.
Brack devotes an entire chapter to dynamic problem solving. Her most quotable line from the book is, “If it doesn’t work it’s evaluation, if it works – it’s therapy! Collaboration with other team members, leadership roles, monitoring and adjusting group activity levels are explored.
Planning process tools are provided such as looking at ways to meet individual student goals through activities (make it functional), other suggestions for documentation and how to create you own lesson plans. The equipment and materials list outlines what is needed for activities, all of them being simple such as bean bags, jump ropes, or a balance beam. There is a lesson plan outline provided and a reproducible template in the appendix.
The themes cover seasons, holidays, basis preschool concepts such as shape recognition, and personal care such as dental health. These activities will carry the program through the school year and take much of the guesswork out of planning. Children’s books are suggested for each cool down activity. The appendix has lesson plan templates, assessment sheets, the definition of the body positions mentioned in the lessons, recommended children’s books and blackline drawings of objects for the lesson plans.
Learn to Move, Move to Learn: Sensorimotor Early Childhood Activity Themes is an essential resource for inclusive preschools and early childhood classrooms to develop sensorimotor skills. Ms. Brack gives educators and occupational therapists the tools to build a solid program by using interesting theme based activities.