There was a Perceptual Motor Programme info session for parents at Rockstar's school recently, and I was pretty happy I could make it, head feeling like it was stuffed ear to ear with cotton balls and all - I'd never heard of PMP before, like so many things with Rockstar's schooling, and sometimes I feel I'm in skins with another human in front of me demonstrating the many uses of a round object that will eventually be known as <pause of reverence> Wheel. <grunts of approval and awe all around>
Ever felt that way about your kid's schooling? No? Well excuse me for being all easily impressed, but I am. Never had kids before and I intend to enjoy it. Wow They Have PE. Shutup. I don't go for various info sessions out of any inherent kiasu-ness, I go because it occurred to me there are people who studied this for years and years, and whose entire careers are based on developing better ways to do this, and I get to go sit down for an hour and be spoon-fed. Sounded like a good deal.
It's like when a large part of my work day would be about skimming new developments in the markets and product space, looking for opportunity (derivatives can trade very differently from vanilla), cutting down the hype when the investment bank Sales expounds the virtues of their latest product, and then I sit down with a new RM for like, an hour. My attitude to info sessions stems from my own understanding of what went into that one hour. (And if it was an old RM with new product it was "If I can't make you understand it in 5 mins I need to get you something else to sell" <blissful reminiscence>.) Anyway. Can you imagine how much time and energy is saved by spending that 5 minutes or 1 hour or whatever with a product person before they then go back and read termsheets?
There is always a lot of information out there, too much. School-your-child-attends offers a one hour briefing, I think you should totally go. (Especially if you are like me and have never looked at anything kids-education-related and now find you kinda have to, because you have kids.)
Rockstar's schooling has been so different from what I remembered in my own time I Can't Even. This post is an illustration of I Can't Even. See, my idea of PE was formed from what I remember in Malaysian public schools and later like NAPFA in Singapore public schools. (Btw coming in from Malaysia after 6 months doing nothing but cramming for SPM I "punctured" during my first NAPFA 2.4km run and my then PE teacher was "Malaysian ah? No wonder! The Malaysians always have problems when they first start!")
SO NOT what Rockstar's PE is about.
The Perceptual Motors Program (PMP) I understand is originally Australian (though if I google it Kiwi sites will also pop up), Rockstar's school Head of PE then further tailor-made it for their PE classes and activities when he came in out of England. It is aimed at developing children's perception and understanding of their surroundings, hand-eye coordination, body control, image and self esteem - ultimately to help them develop skills that will improve their learning in a classroom. Less about fitness or competitions, more fun and sequential activities to increase memory, language and problem solving skills.
Another interesting point during the presentation was the example of babies learning to crawl. I didn't pay much attention to it before, the Little Miss used to really loathe tummy time. Recently it then looked like she would still end up crawling first, in her determination to get at Rockstar determined to not get pulled about by her, but I wasn't particularly encouraging it til at the school info session they drew the analogy of how crawling plays an important role because the mechanics of crawling stimulates different parts of the brain, which then affect the child's ability to learn. Maybe that's why one of our super-academic neighbors was fretting when their baby crawled late (was wondering what the big deal was at first...)
After the presentation, we also got to observe a PE class in session (from afar, so we don't distract the children in the Y3 class who were split up into smaller groups), where the kids move through different activities that have been planned out for them - there's a little obstacle course of various-shaped hoops to navigate, ball-attached-to-cone-with-string where they are supposed to catch the ball in the cone, gymnastics mat and shark's tooth I think it was, where the kids do a forward roll... No wonder we keep getting these emails reminding us to make sure our kids are properly attired for PE... (The indoor gym they were in must be quite warm, like their classroom... I've had to remind Rockstar to put his jacket back on after school, in case he blades about in the windy play areas in our development and then returns home a sniffly icicle.)
Rockstar also once described a two-minute timer where they have to get their shoes off and be ready to start... He then admitted to having not made it in time before, after getting caught up with a classmate "discussing our schedule" for playdate purposes (to which I responded, "In other words you were talking in class when you are supposed to be getting your shoes off," and he gave me a sheepish look :D)
Ps: In general I'm wary of writing about actual education programs and stuff for fear I don't do it justice, I don't portray it well or accurately enough... (So bear in mind for what I post there may be lots more where it came from and if you are looking for more you should just go to the source...)
But I write despite it being out of my comfort zone because I don't know how many times I have heard via casual chit chat with other parents that they don't get why "there is so much play" and "seemingly not much schoolwork" at ESFs (to which the answer is "the play is part of the schoolwork" right...) I think a very general perception from our generation is to worry if it's "too fun" or "doesn't look like enough hard work" it's not "enough learning"... At least if you are like me and went the old route of lots and lots and lots of drilling only... Thing is, while I recognize the need for a bit of drilling (a BIT, I said), I really did not enjoy the majority of my own childhood schooling. And we didn't even have so many little kiddie school entrance interviews and stuff back then. So if there's a more effective and at the same time more fun way for the kids nowadays then that's just freaking awesome.