Kids Heart Pilates offers basic progressive and developmental Pilates exercises in the classroom environment. With aims including promotion and education of healthy lifestyle, education for kids and educators on safe exercises for children and promote healthy movement development.
Currently Kids Heart Pilates works primarily with C and K and Lady Gowrie Kindergartens, child care centers and primary schools adapting each class and session to meet education curriculum.
Kids Heart Pilates and the early childhood Curriculum
Kids Heart Pilates address two main areas of the Queensland Curriculum: Wellbeing and Active Learning
(The State of Queensland (Queensland Studies Authority, 2010). Please see the information below relating Kids Heart Pilates to the Curriculum.
Kids Heart Pilates addresses many aspects of the Early Childhood Curriculum. Motor development and expanding learning techniques via movement, most importantly, create awareness and the education of self wellbeing. Secondly, and just as significantly, it creates strong and healthy bodies for enhanced motor development, movement skills, core stabilization and injury prevention.
Aims and Goals of Pilates for children
- Maintaining and development of posture, correct positioning through the lower back, shoulders and neck and therefore reduction in postural pathologies.
- Improvement and strength in standing and sitting positions and a stable base for functional movement creating a good base for the preparation of school.
- Long lean muscles, enhancing movement patterns
- Core stability and strength
- Improved balance, coordination and motor control development
- Highlighting developmental pathologies and comprehension difficulties
- Balanced strength and flexibility
- Injury prevention
- Enhanced functional fitness and ease of movement
- Introduction of healthy body awareness
- Non impact and safe physical activity
- Cross functional training for other activities ranging from ADLs to sports
- Performance enhancement
Pilates’ side effects include an essence of re patterning and conditioning. For these outcomes however several elements are included into our program:
Relaxation and Breathing
Relaxation is the first step towards a body – mind focused session.
It is essential for a pleasant positive environment to be created for the children to participate in the exercises and employ active listening skills. The session begins with the breathing exercises. This promotes calm behaviour and encourages focus. Breathing is an integral part of each lesson allowing the children to relax their mind and body. As a result the children can concentrate on performing slow controlled movements. Throughout the class if that focus is lost, breathing is used again in a seated, upright position with hands on heads to refocus the mind before any further exercises are undertaken. Deep breathing enhancing balance within the body by circulating oxygen, and promoting blood flow toward the active muscles improving contraction.
Alignment relates to the dynamic form of a person’s posture. The body acts as structural base
of movement and creates actions or reactions based on outside elements with which the body comes in contact.
Using a movement program such as Pilates enhances and retrains the postural balance. If the alignment is out, it can have a large impact on the general health of the body and its quality of movement.
Using the mind to actively strengthen the body. Teaching the children to have self awareness when it comes to the body and the movement principles of the body.
Being aware of how you are moving brings another dimension to exercise involving the neural pathways in a two way action in which you both give the instruction to the muscles and receive feedback. This way you can be constantly aware of how you are in space and what you are doing with any part of your body. Visualizing the exercise relevant to each position is a successful strategy to employ with the children. This trains their bodies and their nervous systems to recruit the right combination of muscles needed in an exercise as well as enhancing the blood flow to the relevant muscles .
Centering; creating a good base for movement
The human body has a centre where the weight is evenly distributed for balance, and from which all movement is created. This encompasses the core muscles including the abdomen, lower back and buttocks.
Creating a strong centre will enhance the production of all movement and limit injury. Stabilizing the centre of gravity allows freedom of movement for the limbs without disrupting the core and therefore protecting the centre. This is crucial in the development phase of motion, reducing the incidence of injury.
Co-ordination and motor development
Pilates principles aim to allow the muscles to activate subconsciously, improving the quality and functionality of all movements. Each exercise demonstrates the recruitment of muscles used to support movements used in the everyday functions of life. Commencing Pilates at an early age is highly beneficial for injury prevention, performance and general well being.
Flowing and controlled Movement
Flowing motion and ease of movement outwards from a core and center of gravity will create strong and safe movement. During the developmental stages of movement, creating flow and coordinated movement is vital in a changing and growing body.