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Elements of Movement in Early Childhood: Shape and Time

written by: Willa • edited by: Laurie Patsalides • updated: 2/16/2012

This lesson on shape and time is part of a series on the creative elements of movement for early childhood, or Pre-K through 3rd grade. It is essential to incorporate movement and learning, to provide the children with a balanced curriculum.

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    Circle Time

    Initiate a discussion on the shape of things, such as curved, twisted, wide, narrow or angular, then tell the children they can form shapes with their bodies. They can also move fast or slow and to the beat or time of music. These activities will not only add movement, but foster creativity and social development. Read the book, Fast and Slow: An Animal Opposites Book, by Lisa Bullard and Gail Saunders Smith.

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    Phonics: The Element of Shape

    Have two children at a time form a letter of the alphabet as they stretch or curve their bodies on the floor. When formed, ask the class to name the letter, sound and if it is a vowel or consonant. In older children, have them form a short word and allow the rest of the class to say the word. Continue until everyone has had a turn.

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    Activity: The Element of Time

    Demonstrate beating a drum to a slow beat then a fast beat. Get the class moving by having the children move like a race car, an old car, a bumble bee, a snail, etc., as you move the tempo accordingly. By allowing the children to suggest more ways to move, not only builds their self esteem, but fosters self expression, creativity and problem solving. These are essential elements of movement in early childhood.

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    As the class sits in a circle, have one child stand directly behind the seated child. The teacher then beats on the drum for a lesson in addition. For example, beat 4 times, then beat 1 time, only the child sitting and the child standing behind will give the answer. If the child standing answers correctly first, he or she then stands behind the next seated child. If the child that is seated is the first to answer correctly, then this child stands and moves to the next and the standing child sits. Continue until everyone has had a chance.

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    Ref. Pica, Rae(2007) Moving and Learning Across the Curriculum

    Suggested reading:

    Move! by Robin Page

    Fast and Slow: An Animal Opposites Book by Lisa Bullard and Gail Saunders Smith