In 2010, the Principal, Lynne Freestone introduced the Bernard Auctcouturier Method of Psychomotor Education into Sunnylea’s Informal Curriculum. At first, there was no suitable venue to facilitate Psychomotor lessons. So while we waited for a venue, the Psychomotor philosophy and vocabulary was slowly integrated into the dialogue between Sunnylea Educators and children.
Psychomotor Education encourages Non-Violent communication. The importance of this type of communication is found in the need to be able to exchange information and resolve differences, peacefully. Respect for the individual is another need answered in the Non-Violent communication method.As the year progressed, an all-encompassing calmness prevailed over the Sunnylea playground. The number of conflicts reduced dramatically as the children began to use Non-Violent dialogue instead of physical violence (e.g. hitting; biting; pushing and pulling) to resolve their disputes.
As educators, we placed the children in positions of responsibility in relation to their own dispute resolution capabilities. We gave each child time to respond, trusting that they would first listen and then cooperate with each other.The results were amazing. The method of Non-Violent communication gave all parties time to think and everyone in the school become more independent in conflict resolution as well as more compassionate.
Sunnylea has definitely changed and benefitted from the introduction of Psychomotor Education. It has been most effective between the ages of 2 and 6 years and has become a very necessary programme for preparing children for Grade 1. Due to the lack of an appropriate venue to conduct Psychomotor lessons in 2010, Settlers Park Pre-Primary graciously offered the use of their facilities to the 2010 Grade R Readiness class. These lessons were conducted by one of the PEISA Institutes’ founding members Michelle Kocheleff. Once a week the class were transported, by 4 helpful parents, across to Settlers Park Pre-primary’s beautiful, spacious Psychomotor Room. Sunnylea will be forever grateful to Mary Gray and her staff for being so generous with their facilities during this time.
In 2011, Sunnylea transformed the Sunbeams (2-3 year old) classroom into a Psychomotor Room. Again, Michelle Kocheleff offered expertise and Psychomotor lessons for every child started officially in the 2nd term. Sunnylea also became a Psychomotor Training Centre in 2011 and the Teacher Training Course began in February with 14 students.
Benefits of Psychomotor Training:
- Love and value themselves
- Possess fundamental motor and perceptual abilities
- Interpret the meaning of other people’s behaviour as well as their own
- Understand the difference between thoughts and actions
- Communicate emotions with words
- Risk failure as a part of learning
- Understand that complicated questions do not have simple answers
- Have a mind of one’s own and to be able to make decisions
- Trust their environment and the people in it and to know when to ask for help
Movement is a child’s first medium of expression. A child, who has the opportunity to move and control their environment, is a child who will experience a greater sense of safety and security than one who lacks these opportunities. The more secure a child feels regarding their environment the more prepared they will be to explore and discover the world. Exploration and discovery are educational methods that we at Sunnylea promote in order to teach children. Psychomotor aims to develop children’s emotional well-being through appropriate body movements. Body-control comes through control of one’s emotions.
Efficient, precise gross and fine motor movements can only happen when the emotions are calm and focused. As Educators, we believe that becoming a listening partner for the child, mirroring the child’s behaviour and labelling the child’s behaviour, helps children express what they need.