by Penny Pitassi at 2:21 PM
At 3T Karate we focus on developing 5 vital skills necessary for the physical and mental development of our pre-schoolers.
Sounds obvious right? Tell me something I DON'T know ! Well, yes, every parent understands that Self-Discipline is Vital, but not everyone understands exactly what Self-Discipline TRULY is which means they don't really know how to help a young child develop it.
Self-Discipline is NOT the same thing as "Authority" Discipline. When a child "Misbehaves" and a Parent, Teacher, or other authority figure helps correct the child, that's NOT Self-Discipline. Although very important to a child's development, correction and redirection don't necessarily instill Self Discipline of their own accord.
What the Authority figure chooses to focus on DURING the correction or redirection DOES help instill Self-Discipline. That's why at 3T Karate you will never see us "shaming" a child. They might need a correction, but it's vital that they don't feel like they're a bad kid - helping them understand the best ways to act and WHY, rather than just correcting without compassion, will produce kids who stop and think before acting, which is what we all want!
Some kids are REALLY independent out of the gate, and others need some coaxing to be able to do their own thing. However, even with the most outgoing of children, there are just some things they don't want to do. So how do we get our kids to pull their own weight - help with chores, put their OWN SHOES away, etc? How do we build Independent Motivation, especially for things that aren't super fun for kids? In our classes we sneak "hard work" in between the fun drills in class. Before they know it, your Preschooler is ASKING to do more pushups or crunches - they'll WANT to sweat and kick and block. Really, we're cheating. We're using the body's natural endorphins and a really high energy class structure to mask the hard work, and present it as fun. What happens is that your child will be smiling, sweating, and in an elevated state (good attitude) when they're doing difficult things, which is essentially like practicing for life.
While it's obvious that your child will someday be a functioning adult, it's NOT a given that they will be physically capable, and have a grasp over their body and it's capabilities. Starting your child EARLY, having them begin to learn simple things like toe-touches, blocks, jumps and kicks helps to build and nurture pathways in the brain. The later you start, the more difficult it will be for the brain to create those new pathways.
You can see evidence for it everywhere. The kids who are more active - playing outside, running, jumping, and involved in activities seems to be more naturally coordinated, while the kids who prefer to stay indoors and play video games struggle with basic physical obstacles. Start them NOW learning about their bodies, and they'll be able to use it really, really well for the rest of their lives.
This is pretty close to Coordination, but it's even MORE important. One of the things we're crippled with as elderly humans is a lack of flexibility. You see it every day. Some older people really struggle to even be mobile at all. However, those who stretch their muscles on a daily basis do more than just keep them flexible; they promote healing, growth, and prevent injury throughout their lives, which leads to an old age of peace and happiness, instead of immobility and struggle.
At 3T Karate we certainly don't stretch Preschoolers past what they're comfortable with, but we teach them the motions and purpose behind the stretches, and create an atmosphere where stretching is "cool", so that they'll be very likely to continue it as they grow up.
If your child completely and totally misses out on all of the 4 previous Skills, but is a CONFIDENT human being, they'll be just fine. Confidence is Vital, but it's also not intrinsic. We see a LOT of Preschool age kids, and every one of them benefits from our classes, because they're never told they "can't" do it. They might notice that they can't do some move or challenging drill RIGHT NOW, but we discuss the problem, find a solution, then help them work through it. It's here that preschoolers learn that "stick-to-it-iveness" that is the foundation of confidence.
They learn that challenges don't equal failure, and that application of motivation and purpose gets them what they want. In our classes it's a completed drill or successful kick - in life it's that college acceptance letter or big job. Confidence is the most important thing tey need and we have the most powerful platform available to help develop it.