I was swimming laps yesterday (after doing a little ballet with Anna, which was so fun to have her lead me in a little warm-up-to-the-day exercise), thinking again how I wish I had learned to swim laps as a child.
Today, in the pool again, I decided to work on learning a flip turn. Somehow when I was young, I got afraid of doing things like cartwheels and somersaults and flips. It may have had something to do with a bad experience trying to do a back dive off the side of a pool once when I hit my head on the wall coming back in from my dive: I had forgotten to push away. It hurt so much that I didn’t go back to trying to do it again. Maybe it was just my personality of being afraid of getting hurt!
As an adult, doing a flip turn is something I want to learn to do and conquer. So today Lane patiently helped me figure out how to do the somersault in the water. After maybe 20 tries, I said a prayer for help. After the prayer I was able to do it, slowly, 10 times correctly. Then I was tired: a run and a hike and lots of water somersaults was enough for one day! I’ll have to work on the turn part of that another day.
I feel like I have such a desire to learn new things as an adult that I didn’t have the chance to learn as a child. And it makes me want to help children learn to overcome fears and have fun learning things like swimming and flip turns and somersaults and splits and whatever fun physical activities when they are young so that as they grow they have the courage and self-confidence to know that they can do hard things!
It makes me think: if I were to design elementary age curriculum, I would include much more physical education than I ever had. I would have each grade learn to walk and then run distances. Kindergarten: a half mile. First grade: 1 mile, and up on through the grades until the sixth graders, who can run a 10K when they finish!
And wouldn’t it be great to have a few minutes of yoga/stretching every day in kindergarten? And dance twice a week? And basic gymnastics once a week? And teaching children anatomy and physiology and physics and geometry and culture and geography as you move, right from the start?
Wouldn’t it be so amazing to just plant these seeds of knowledge in such natural ways–to talk about gravity when you fall or try to reach–that the children grow and acquire so much more each year, building on their knowledge?
And music fits so naturally with movement, as does second language learning. There are just so many ways that multiple subjects can be combined to make learning so much more effective and fun!
Well, there’s nothing like a little quiet lap swim or morning run or a hike with my husband to get me brainstorming about things like educational reform!