This resource site, Hearts at Play ~ Move, Learn, Bloom, is here to provide the educational philosophy of learning through movement and connection, as delineated in our work as movement educators—which work includes Educational Kinesiology and the Brain Gym® and Vision Gym® programs. Our site further provides a forum for like-minded thinkers and educators from various disciplines who also advocate development of the whole person. These experts understand learning as immediate and multidimensional—not just as information input but as a part of self-care and wellness that is integral to the building of community and applicable to people of all ages and abilities.
Movement is crucial to every other brain function, including memory, language, and learning. Our “higher” brain functions have evolved from movement and depend on it.
–John J. Ratey, MD
A User’s Guide to the Brain
Educational Kinesiology (Edu-K for short) is a comprehensive and enjoyable learning-skills program for people of all ages who want to experience intrinsic mastery of their subject. “Educational” comes from the Latin word educere, which means to draw out, lead forth, or educe. “Kinesiology,” from the Greek root kinesis (the production of motion), means the study of the principles of mechanics and anatomy in relation to human movement. Educational Kinesiology is a system, then, for empowering learners to notice how they move so they can draw out their innate potential. Read More
In the early 1980s, Dr. Paul E. Dennison and his wife and collaborator, Gail E. Dennison, created Educational Kinesiology (Edu-K) – enhanced learning through movement. The Dennison’s’ visionary insight led them to develop the unique learning-readiness program known as Brain Gym®, which offers the introductory elements of the Edu-K work: the 26 core Brain Gym® activities. Today, people of all ages use these simple, powerful activities to enhance their visual, auditory, and kinesthetic skills for easier and more pleasurable learning. Read more
The Brain Gym® program provides beginners with the essence of Educational Kinesiology (learning through movement). The 26 simple Brain Gym activities, included in the course “Brain Gym 101: Balance for Daily Life,” are used in schools worldwide, and are the most well-known part of the work. The activities, each taking about 20 seconds to do, lengthen tense muscles, organize action around the body’s midline, and emphasize varied skills of stability, mobility, self-calming, and sensorimotor coordination. The 26 employ both large- and small-motor skills for coordination of eyes and hands, ease of head turning, skimming and scanning, and moving the whole body in centered alignment. Read more
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Hearts and flowers are always welcome in the springtime, and can be especially soothing and restorative to make when using two hands at the same time. Whether you want to make a card or picture to express your gratitude to someone special, or to simply reflect on and celebrate the qualities of Mothering in your own experience, this project is a great way to connect with those nurturing feelings. All you need is some paper, marking pens (crayons or paint can also work), and a few minutes time, to create a whimsical and relaxing image.
A big part of what makes us human is our desire to tell stories and otherwise express ourselves. Language is something not to take apart, but to put together—something by which we create connections with our world. Through our planet’s long history, our ancestors drew pictures that later became an alphabet, in order to record, recall, and communicate their experiences. Reading is the miracle that resulted from these marks and symbols. Codes were created and agreed upon that could later be decoded by others in order to pass on the culture to the next generation. Every child who learns to read and write recreates this miracle.
I received my first pair of glasses after repeating the fourth grade because I’d failed to learn how to read. The eye doctor told my mother and me that my nearsighted vision was hereditary, and that I could expect it to get worse every year. My mother, an artist with excellent vision, didn’t understand the prognosis, as no one in our family had ever worn glasses. She said she suspected that it might have something to do with my long-time struggle in learning to read.
Until that first moment of self-aware noticing, I had felt completely overwhelmed and unable to follow what was going on in classroom. Soon after my new experience of self-reflection, I began to examine my abilities, plan my own learning steps, and take responsibility for teaching myself. And this was only the beginning: within the next three years I would discover how to connect this noticing with my sensory processes. For instance, such things as the movement of my hands and my tactile experience as I formed letters would eventually help me with my handwriting, and there were innumerable other instances of such useful new connections.
“Grandma, can we make some flowers for springtime?” my 10-year old granddaughter, H., asked me as she settled in after school. “And a vase, too! I want to give them to my mom and dad.” I immediately set aside the plans I was considering for our play day and went looking for a suitable vase. “What are you imagining?” I asked. Soon we were both in the world of exploring ideas and materials. As we found various items, we set them out on the dining room table, and H. began choosing the items, colors, and textures that she liked. Suddenly she was going ahead with a new idea: designing a butterfly for the bouquet!
In spring or anytime, I find that dance is a lovely way to increase my vigor and celebrate my day. It’s difficult to dance and not feel happy and light-hearted, plus dancing a complex pattern is great for your memory. Dance may have evolved from people’s seeking a social way to make merry after a day’s work, or to mark the end of a season.
I often hear from parents who are discouraged about their child’s learning progress. Sometimes they’ll tell me that their youngster is bright, and that he or she shows interest in learning at home during weekends or vacation time. Yet at school, they say, that same child is bored or struggling, slower than others in completing work, looking for ways to avoid assignments, and—once home—often stalling on homework or forgetting to do it.
When I first heard Katy Bowman lecture some six years back, I immediately knew that she is a force for positive change. And now, reading Katy’s latest book has affirmed for me the value of her innovative work as a biomechanist and leading expert on alignment. I so appreciate her unique understanding of physical function and her commonsense, humorous, and altogether appealing vision of wellness and vigor.