I haven't heard about perceptual motor programs for years but remember them fondly from my childhood. How can I get one going at my kids' elementary school?

Answer

Starting a perceptual-motor program at your children's elementary school would be a great benefit for the youngsters, and I commend your willingness to spearhead it. You could start small in kindergarten and, if it's a grand success, expand it to include all the primary grades. My advice would be to get the PTA behind you after first getting a green light from the principal (if you don't have her approval, there's no use in wasting your time).

You can convince the principal by assuring her that parent volunteers (not the already over-worked teachers) will run the program and purchase the necessary equipment. You should also discuss with her whether the program will be part of the regular P.E. program or something separate. If she wants it to be part of the P.E. program, you'll need to work with the P.E. teacher.

Most elementary schools did away with perceptual-motor programs because they didn't have enough parent volunteers to run them. When I participated in the program as a kid, it was run completely by five moms who set up the equipment and ran each station. The teachers were 100% on board with it because it gave them a period to work in their classrooms, make copies, return parent phone calls, and write lesson plans.

When I taught kindergarten at an inner-city elementary school, the other kindergarten teacher and I ran the perceptual-motor program by ourselves with the help of our teaching assistant. It was difficult because we had to set up the equipment before school started and take it down while the kids sat patiently on the bleachers. We could only have three stations so the kids had to wait for their turn. It wasn't ideal, but it worked. Teachers today, though, are under more pressure with testing, assessments, and Common Core standards so I doubt they would be willing to take on a perceptual-motor program.

I imagine some younger teachers have never heard of perceptual-motor programs and would be keen to learn more. With children watching 7+ hours of screens each day, perceptual-motor programs are critical for developing balance, coordination, gross motor skill, and the body-brain connection. Good luck!

Updated on August 3, 2018

Original Article:

What Is a Perceptual-Motor Program and Why Should Your Child's School Have One?
By McKenna Meyers
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