As mentioned in our previous blog, Cool Kids is a teacher-friendly exercise programme which helps to support pupils in school. It focuses on children’s gross motor development which underpins fine motor skills. Cool Kids has been successfully used across the age ranges for over 20 years. So, why is it so important for our children and young people?
The Cool Kids programme is aimed at developing the motor skills of underachievers so that they can develop in physical activity and improve their ability to modulate their arousal levels. It helps children to catch up on their foundation skills; it takes them through the stages of development, starting with working on their backs, tummies, sitting, kneeling and right through to standing. Children then work on their balance, bi-lateral movement and co-ordination. The programme may help some children who have difficulties with listening and language development as a result of arousal levels.
It is based on the principles of normal development- it reinforces the correct sequences and the activities in the programme are selected to promote a child’s sensory integration which improves their neural functioning. It is a sensory processing friendly approach, which enables all children to achieve their full potential and to enjoy movement. Not only this, but the Cool Kids programme improves a child’s chances of lifelong physical and mental health. For staff, the programme improves their understanding and observation of the physical reasons why some children experience challenges in their learning ability. In a nutshell, it enables students to become calm, confident and better able to concentrate.
The theoretical background behind the importance of Cool Kids is based on the Pyramid of Learning (Williams & Shellenberger, 1996). A child needs to be able to develop their sensory systems in such a way that they’re able to develop their motor skills, and following on from that their perception, and following on that their cognition, to be able to learn to their full potential. If any of the levels on the Pyramid of Learning are not met, students will find it very difficult to cope with the demands within a mainstream education setting. More on the Pyramid of Learning can be found in our brand new course regarding the use of Cool Kids. This course includes the background and sensory knowledge behind Cool Kids, case studies to discuss and problem solve, as well as some guidance around delivering the programme. The course is written and delivered by Roz Roscoe, Children’s Occupational Therapist and you can find it here.
References: Williams, J., & Shellenberger, S. (1996). The Alert Program: Helping Children with Sensory Processing Difficulties Learn and Behave. Future Horizons, Inc