Movement Grows Learning! What do Foveal and Peripheral Vision Refer To?

In babies and very young children, the muscles in the eyes develop sequentially and are intimately related to the development of the central nervous system. In infancy and early childhood, peripheral vision is the first function to develop naturally, followed by the development of foveal vision.

Foveal refers to up-close, two-dimensional viewing used for activities such as reading and writing. Peripheral and three-dimensional vision refers to what we see beyond the foveal center, reaching to the mid and far boundaries of our vision as a whole. Foveal function allows us to focus in on and track details, while peripheral vision allows us to take in the environment all around us. Each is critically important.

There’s a great book by Carla Hannaford entitled, Smart Moves, published by Great Ocean Publishers. This book looks at how movement nourishes the brain and is essential in the developing years. In Chapter 6, Hannaford describes how the eye muscles strengthen as they move in response to head movement. This happens when the vestibular system is activated. The more the eyes move, the more the muscles of both eyes work together, and the more connections are made to the brain.

Time spent in sedentary positions for very young children can inhibit the natural development of eye muscle strengthening, teaming and tracking. Giving babies and young children lots of opportunities to move and express physically helps to stimulate the vestibular system, and helps the eye muscles to strengthen and grow in concert.

In the short video clip above, I’m speaking at a Movement Grows Learning Workshop about foveal and peripheral vision.

Enjoy!

Movement Grows Learning! Right/Left Hemispheres of the Brain

Did you know that the right and left hemispheres of the brain are responsible for different functions? I’ve learned it’s very important in the developing years to nourish both sides of the brain in order to make sure the whole child is engaged in the learning process.

The ‘left’ hemisphere is primarily responsible for decoding information. It categorizes, labels, makes lists, organizes, computes, penetrates math equations, and problem solves. The ‘right’ hemisphere absorbs information through the feelings, and through the sensation of light, color, sound, movement, touch, shape, scent, and design. True learning allows all our senses and abilities to be engaged when acquiring new skills!

What is this?
Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 9.17.50 PM

To one part of the brain this concept is represented by the symbols: C A T.
To another part, it is represented by something soft and furry that makes the sound M E O W.

Both are true! Children should be encouraged to play with different styles and ‘sides’ of learning in order to discover and develop from an inner, individual motivation. Providing a ‘multi-sensory’ approach to learning stimulates both hemispheres of the brain, and allows learning to go deeper.

I’ve included a short video segment (see above) from a workshop I gave in Poughkeepsie, NY on Movement Grows Learning, along with a short clip from a concert where we’re singing and playing with scarves.
Enjoy!

Movement Grows Learning! with Tick Tock

Have you ever heard the term ‘vestibular’? I learned about it when studying Infant Development at the School for Body Mind Centering in Amherst, MA.

Vestibular comes from the word vestibule, referring to a gateway or opening between two places. Located in the central part of the inner ear labyrinth, the vestibular system is responsible for coordinating movement with balance.

Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 8.49.32 PMIt sends signals to the neural structures that control eye movements, and to the muscles that keep us upright. It’s also intimately connected with learning to read. The brain uses information from the vestibular system to interpret our body’s position and acceleration in space.


For very young children, stimulation to this system is extremely pleasing! It’s like ‘brain food’. Rocking, turning, swinging, bouncing, tipping, jumping and rolling all stimulate and nourish the brain in the developing years.

I hope you enjoy this short video clip about the vestibular system from a developmental workshop I gave in Poughkeepsie, NY, and, an event at a library in Connecticut.

Click here to download my Tick Tock song (Circle Songs CD, 2005) for free!

Enjoy!

circlesongbook sukeymolloy

 

Tick Tock

Lyrics…

Follow movement indications in italics throughout the song

Tick tock, tick tock, I have a little clock,
Tick tock, tick tock, it’s ‘ticking ‘ on the dot.
(Stand or sit and rock side to side with arms outstretched)

Tick tock, tick tock, I have a little clock,
Tick tock, tick tock, it’s ‘ringing ‘ on the dot.
(Raise arms in air and wiggle hands)

Tick tock, tick tock, I have a little clock,
Tick tock, tick tock, it’s ‘chiming ‘ on the dot.
(Sound the chiming with arms overhead, opening and closing arms)

Tick tock, tick tock, I have a little clock,
Tick tock, tick tock, it’s ‘spinning ‘ on the dot.
(Turn in place while seated, or stand and turn)

Tick tock, tick tock, I have a little clock,
Tick tock, tick tock, it’s ‘clapping ‘ on the dot.
(Clap in rhythm)

Tick tock, tick tock, I have a little clock,
Tick tock, tick tock, it’s ‘hopping ‘ on the dot.
(Stand and hop in place to rhythm, or bounce on knees)

Tick tock, tick tock, I have a little clock,
Tick tock, tick tock, it’s ‘jumping ‘ on the dot.
(Jump in place to rhythm, or bounce on knees)

Tick tock, tick tock, I have a little clock,
Tick tock, tick tock, it’s ‘sleeping ‘ on the dot.
(Lay down and pretend to sleep, shhh…)

Be Happy Don’t Worry!

When I was a little girl, and sometimes felt anxious, my mother would say, “Sukey, be happy, don’t worry. There’s nothing to worry about.” It would give me a different perspective in the moment, and offer a new attitude. I wrote ‘Be Happy Don’t Worry’ to help remember my mother’s advice. I also wanted to share her enthusiastic attitude with children and families everywhere.

When we give children the opportunity to discover positive attitudes through play and learning, while acquiring fine and gross motor skills through playful means, we provide them with skills to take through life. Movement, song, and play stimulate not only learning in the developing years, but give children an important feeling of, ‘I can!’ to share with others.

When you sing, Be Happy Don’t Worry, invite children to try the facial movements along with you as you sing– like this:

…Make a happy face while nodding your head ‘yes’ for “Be happy”, a worried face while nodding ‘no’ for “Don’t worry”, and wagging your pointer finger side to side for “There’s nothing to worry about”.

Try it. It’s fun!

Click here for free download Be Happy Don’t Worry from the CD I Am Happy (2011)
__________________________

The lyrics:

Be happy, don’t worry, there’s nothing to worry about.
Don’t worry be happy, there’s nothing to worry about.

The sun is shining the sky is blue,
The treetops are smiling and so can you.
Be happy, don’t worry, there’s nothing to worry about.

The river is quiet the fish are asleep,
And on their faces a smile they keep!
Be happy, don’t worry, there’s nothing to worry about!

________________________

Enjoy!

These Are My Eyes

I’m delighted to share this very first felt animation that I created for Sukey’s Circle! and which is available on DVD and in audio picture book. I first wrote the song for mothers to sing with their babies during infant massage sessions. And the song later evolved into a felt art activity to share with toddlers and preschoolers while singing and moving.

As I watched the first felt images come to life in the animation studio, I was truly touched. The gentleness and sweetness in babies and children when they’re first discovering the mystery of being in a body was, for me, important to convey through the music and colorful images.

I hope you enjoy the video, and that you’ll download the new coloring page to go with it! Just click on the image below. And I hope you’ll consider downloading These Are My Eyes from Itunes (from Circle Songs with Sukey Molloy), and the longer version on the Sukey’s Circle! DVD (Vol. 1) on Amazon or at: www.sukeymolloy.com.

Enjoy!

sunnysmall

These Are My Eyes
Copyright Sukey Molloy 2005

These are my eyes,
This is my nose,
This is my mouth,
Round my ears it goes.

These are my arms and fingers,
These are my legs and toes,
This is my tummy,
And round and round it goes!

 

I Sit on My Chair

As a developmental movement educator I study many forms of movement, and in particular am interested in exploring gestures and postures. Did you know that the movement vocabulary we acquire by age 10 is the one we will take through life? Children need to explore many different ways of moving in order to build a rich vocabulary in the developing years. In my Sukey’s Circle! DVD series, I use I Sit on My Chair to invite children to explore different ways of moving and sitting on a chair. I recommend they ask an adult to accompany them while they play with the different movement postures, and I invite you to move along with them! It’s a fun activity to try together as a family. You can purchase I Sit on My Chair, along with my other Sukey’s Circle! videos (Volumes 1, 2 & 3) on Amazon, and on my website. You can also download my new ‘Coloring Page of the Month’ by clicking on the image below. Sunny and Tick Tock love sitting on their chairs!

smchair

Remembering Nona

Nona and Sukey togetherI’d like to share a very special person with you who has been a profound part of my life – Claricia Iona Cummings. Miss Cummings, endearingly referred to as Nona, joined my family from Panama when I was just five days old. At the time, we lived in Springfield, Massachusetts. Nona has been like a mother to me throughout childhood and adulthood, and incredibly, lived to be 105 years old, just 4 months shy of 106! Nona, with presence and awareness, passed away this October in Washington DC. Her life shines as an extraordinary example of humility, joyfulness, dignity, careful craft, and hard work, and those who knew her remain in awe of her graciousness and love.

In remembrance of Nona, I wanted to share a Russian lullaby I recorded in 2012. I think Nona would like it, and would feel comforted by its gentle melody. I invite you to listen, and to join me in honoring this very special person. For you Nona…I love you.

Russian Lullaby (from I Am Sleepy! with Sukey Molloy) ©2012

      Russian Lullaby - Sukey Molloy

Sukey’s Circle! Mini Shows on BabyFirst TV!

Sukey Molloy with Sunny and Tick TockHi Everyone! I’m really pleased that my newly recreated Sukey’s Circle! Mini Shows are airing on BabyFirst TV! When BabyFirst initially expressed interest, they requested that I deliver all 15 mini episodes in both Spanish and English. This was quite a surprise but I did it! After the lyrics and dialogue were interpreted from English to Spanish with my friend (and flamenco dancer) Anna de la Paz, we went into Studio ‘L’ with co-producer Larry Alexander and recorded the voice over’s for all the spoken word segments. After completing Anna’s recording session, we returned with vocal artist Maya Solovey who recorded the song vocals. It was fun!

On July 30th I will release Sukey’s Circle! Vol. 3 Mini Shows on DVD and you’ll be able to watch all 15 ‘made for TV’ shows in both languages! In the meantime, catch Sukey’s Circle! on BabyFirstTV on Dish, DirecTV, Comcast, and other cable networks.
Click here.

Anna de la Paz

 Anna de la Paz:
Spanish vocalist on Sukey’s Circle!
www.annadelapaz.com

Maya Solovey

Maya Solovey:
Spanish vocalist on Sukey’s Circle!
www.mayasolovey.com

Drum Play with Hands & Mallets

Sukey, Kids, and a Drum!Drum play is inherently a magical activity and seems to attract children young and old. Drum play creates an invitation to touch that allows children to explore sounds and rhythm all on their own. With a little guidance, drums are wonderfully responsive instruments for play and learning, and are very versatile particularly for little hands.

I offer drum activities in my mommy & me and preschool PlayMove&Sing classes, and I include a variety of drum play options for children to try.  Children find drumming exciting and satisfying, and I believe it’s in part because they’re able to impact directly on their environment, and receive immediate feedback with instant response.

I invite children while seated to:

  • Pat the drum with two hands
  • Rub the drum in circular motions with one hand
  • Scratch the drum with finger tips
  • Tap on the drum with pointer fingers
  • Pat the drum with hands alternating R/L

And while standing to:

  • Pat the drum while marching in place
  • Pat the drum while marching around the room

Then seated with mallet to:

  • Tap the drum with one mallet (or two, one in each hand)
  • Circle the mallet(s) around the top of the drum in circular motion
  • Tap the drum with mallet(s) alternating R/L
  • Turn drum on its side and tap the top with mallet(s)
  • With drum on its side, tap the side(s) of the drum with mallet(s)
  • Stand and tap drum on sides or top with mallet(s)
  • March in place, then march around room tapping side or top of drum

The song melodies I use are taken from Ten Little Indians and Skip to M’Lou. I’ve recorded them as Pat the Ball and Rocking in My Rocking Chair on my CD’s. You’ll simply need to modify the traditional lyrics to direct the drum activity. It’s fun to try! (See lyric recommendations below).

Here’s video clip of a PlayMove&Sing class in Nyack, NY and we’re drumming away. Join us!

To the tune of Skip to M’Lou

If I had a drum, what would I do?

What would I do what would I do?

If I had a drum, what would I do?

This is what I would do, do, do.

I would tap and tap and tap on the drum,

Tap and tap and tap on the drum,

Tap and tap and tap on the drum,

That is what I would do, do, do.

…and so on!

 

To the tune of Ten Little Indians

One little, two little, three little children,

Four little, five little, six little children,

Seven little, eight little, nine little children,

Ten little children go pat, pat, pat.

Pat, pat, pat the drum,

Pat, pat, pat the drum,

Pat, pat, pat the drum,

Pat the drum today.

…and so on!

Ball Play to the tune of Ten Little Indians

Sukey MolloyBall play has universal appeal for young children and is a great activity for the developing years. Ball play develops eye-hand and eye-foot coordination, builds steadiness and confidence in the emotions, and develops physical skills to take through life.

Ball skills begin by experimenting with fundamental “lead up” skills to set the groundwork for developing more complex skills later on.

Pre-walking babies can sit and “pat” a ball, and can “track” a rolling ball coming toward them across the floor.

Toddlers can pat a ball, and also spin, roll, toss and kick a ball. They can also toss a ball into a hoop.

Preschoolers can do all the above, and can also bounce a ball, catch it, toss it (at a target or into a hoop), and can even begin to dribble a ball.

In the PlayMove&Sing classes I teach, I include additional (non-traditional) ball play activities to create a special atmosphere of physical fun and discovery.

Ball

In addition to:

  • Patting
  • Spinning
  • Rolling
  • Tossing
  • Catching
  • Kicking

I invite babies, toddlers and preschoolers to:

  • Sit and bounce on the ball.
  • Sit and bounce on the ball while clapping.
  • Roll on the ball (on tummy) going forward and back.
  • Hold the ball between feet while lying down with legs lifted overhead.

In the song featured here, Pat the Ball (to the tune of “Ten Little Indians”), the lyrics highlight ball skills to try in rhythm while singing along.

Here’s a video clip of a PlayMove&Sing class in action in Nyack, NY. (ages ___ to ___).  We’re singing “Pat the Ball” while doing the actions described by the lyrics.

Click here to watch.

      Click here to listen to the “Pat the Ball” song from the Circle Songs CD
– audio

Click here to download the lyrics to “Pat the Ball”