In recent years, most children also attracted to the device’s technology including children in kindergarten. Children, preteens, and teens often exposed to technology. They spend a lot of time using gadgets, TV, and computer. This will lead to a lack of physical activities due to none of the movements involved when they spend more time surfing, watching, and interact with media technology. Therefore, it will contribute to weight problems, concentration problems, and cognition problems. Further research shows that children, preteens, and teenagers who use massive amounts of media will increased obesity rate, reduced physical activity, and decreased health status. Lack of physical activities will affect to child learning and impact on four areas of ill-being, which is psychological, behavior, attention and physical health problem especially among children in school within age 4 to 8 years old. However, movement and exercise can improve brain function, mood, and focus while children learn things. Physical activities will improve their five areas of development, which is cognitive, social and emotional, speech and language, fine motor skills, and gross motor skill.
Physical activity is defined as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that require energy expenditure. This includes exercise as well as other activities which involve bodily movement. Booth & Lees. (2006) said that physical exercise leads to observable changes in brain structure and function. In addition, movement and exercise improve brain function, focus, and mood. One of the elements in physical activities is ‘BrainDance’. It is a unique movement tool and more than just an exercise. Furthermore, BrainDance could be tailored to children of all ages abilities. This is one of the best ways to enhance children’s abilities, development, and learning behavior as it synchronizing the connection between brain function and dance movement.
BrainDance movement activity developed by Anne Green Gilbert (2006). BrainDance activity is a progressive and controlled series of physical movements that based on eight major movements and encouraging body connectivity and alignment (Gilbert & Rossanno, 2006). The eight fundamental movement patterns that human beings were planned to move through from birth through 12 months are breath, tactile, core Distal movement, Head-Tail movement, Upper-Lower connection movement, body site connection, cross-Lateral connection, and vestibular stimulation. These movements help to integrate the body and brain together. Referring to James (2010) students who learned using multiple senses had enhanced blood-oxygen levels, which is evidence of strengthening the neural connection. Moreover, BrainDance movement can develop children’s reading skills, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, social skills, improve learning behavior, and children’s negative behavior to positive behavior.
BrainDance can improve four specific areas in children learning which are (1) focus, (2) use of sense, (3) multiple sense, and (4) restlessness. Besides that, it will increase understanding of the child, improve behavior in classrooms, and enhanced attitudes toward school. Teachers who implementing brain-based movement can enhance children’s abilities and learning behavior. Below is the table for guiding technique on providing BrainDance teaching and learning towards children.
|Breath||Our brain needs oxygen to function. Deep breaths with inhaling through the nose filling the belly, diaphragm, and lungs exhale through the mouth. Repeat four to five times deep breath.|
|Tactile||This refers to bonding and sensory integration. Leads children to touch selected body parts in various ways. Example; squeezing, tapping, slapping, scratching, brushing.|
|Core-Distal Movement||Stretch away from body center (naval). Extending through the body, fingers, toes, head, tail, and the curl back to the core center. This movement will relate to others and self.|
|Head-Tail Movement||This movement can improve spinal flexibility and neck strength. Stretch and curl head and tail (pelvis) together and apart, circle head. Wiggle spine.|
|Upper-Lower Connection Movement||This is for articulate body halves and emotional grounding. Let to move the whole upper body while stabilizing with the lower body. Move lower body parts and stabilize the upper body.|
|Body-Side Connection||Move the right side fully while stabilizing the left side. Move the left side fully and stabilize the right side. Track the eye to the right and left. This movement purpose to articulate body sides and horizontal eye tracking.|
|Cross-Lateral Connection||Move or connect the opposite arm and leg. Cross middle-line of the body in many different ways. Track eye au and down. This activity will integrate brain hemispheres and vertical eye tracking.|
|Vestibular Connection||Let children swing, tip, rock, sway, and roll. Spin until dizzy for only 15 seconds. Rest and spin again the other way. This activity can improve balance and proprioception (brain transmitting impulses transfer information from prior ceptor system to the central nervous system).|
Table 1: Description of the BrainDance Patterns and its Benefits based on Gilbert (2001) & BrainDance illustrations by intellidance (2004).
Parents and caregivers also can practice BrainDance to their baby when they reach age 12 months. Naturally, a baby at age 12 months does its own brainDance. Parents or caregivers must put the baby on a non-carpeted surface on the baby tummy. The baby’s first breath starts the wires growing from the brain cells. Tactile stimulation begins with the first touch of skin on skin and essential for promoting appropriate behavior and emotional and social intelligence. In the first two months of life, the baby will reach into space to connect with their environment and curl back into the womb position, demonstrating the core-distal pattern. Continuing with head-tail, the baby at two months can control the head and will lift and turn head in both directions. The element of upper and lower body halves will be seen when the baby can push their arms and hands than the feet and knees to crawl. Stage six, the baby can reach with one side of the body at five to seven months of life. The baby will be moving the left half of the body as one unit and then the right half. At this stage, the baby will develop their horizontal eye tracking when crawling on their bellies.
The Cross lateral stage is when the baby reaches age seven to nine months. This time baby pushes their self-up onto hands and knees begin a cross-lateral from the upper body. Vertical eye-tracking triggered by creeping on hands and knees. Horizontal and vertical eye tracking essential for reading. Cross-lateral patterns also appear in walking and running. The final stage of BrainDance is the vestibular system. This vestibular system begins developing in utero and continues to be very active through the first 15 months. This vestibular system very important in use for reading, hearing, touching, speaking, and balancing the body. The vestibular system refers to the whole body movement. This vestibular helps to analyze movement where we are in space and link up to all forms of sensory information.
In conclusion, BrainDance is one of the best techniques to develop children’s abilities and their learning behavior introduced by Gilbert (2006). Parents, caregivers, and teachers are recommended to practice these eight movement patterns together with their children/ kindergarten children. The integration between dance and brain can enhance children’s thinking, mood, positive behavior, focus, and learning.