Early Childhood Motor Laboratory (Kindergym)
The Kindergym program was established in 1984 by Dr. Rip Marston in response to the need to provide students in training for early childhood education and elementary physical education a learning environment working with young children.
The Kindergym program involves primarily a Saturday morning session in the Wellness Recreation Center designed to provide a variety of physical activities for children aged 2-5 years in currently under the direction of Ms. Katie Farwell and supervision of UNI students.
Kindergym was developed around the philosophy that young children benefit by being exposed to a variety of activities that require the utilization of an array of physical, social, and cognitive skills. Although the primary objective of the program's activities is to encourage the child's use of a variety of motor skills, learning opportunities that occur which encourage thinking and/or social skills are not ignored. Kindergym believes that children need to feel liked, to be challenged, and to sense pride in their accomplishments.
Parental education is also a component of the Kindergym program encouraging parents to play with their children and receiving educational materials related to children's health.
Historically a teaching and service program, the Kindergym program has recently provided School of HPELS faculty with opportunities to train students in research protocol used in assessing body composition and motor development in young children.
Kindergym has provided a rich environment for scholarly pursuits. The program has generated material for approximately 10 articles, 25 presentations/workshops, and several chapters in books. Recently the program has provided a study population for School of HPELS faculty to validate objective measures of physical activity. This work is published in the scientific journal Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise (June 2000).
In addition to its present activities, the Kindergym staff has played an important role in providing in-service training of preschool teachers for the planning and delivery of movement programs in the Freeburg Early Childhood Center and will provide training workshops for the Rural Iowa Preschool Movement Startup Project.
The objectives of the UNI Kindergym program include: The objectives of the UNI Kindergym program include:
- Develop new movement patterns; refine existing ones.
- Increase movement proficiency through observational learning and problem solving.
- Enhance self-concept through experiencing success and enjoyment in movement.
- Learn to relate to unfamiliar adults and children, and to adjust to a new environment.
- Develop a movement vocabulary.
The parent's involvement in the program will vary from session to session but will include:
- Participation with the child as a partner or teacher.
- Observe the skill development of children.
- A journal assessment of the program at the end of the semester.
- To have fun and enjoy the time with the child.
A parent or guardian is requested to accompany the child during each session. We have found that most children feel more secure when a "familiar face" is near by and although care is taken in providing a challenging, yet safe environment, the adult is still essential in promoting safe behaviors and activities within this environment. We also request that when circumstances dictate that older siblings must accompany the adult and Kindergym participant to the session, the older child take a passive role during the session so as not to inhibit or endanger the younger children.
Thanks again for your interest in Kindergym. If you have any questions, or if I may be of assistance in any way, please don't hesitate to write or call.
Dr. Rip Marston Program Administrator
School of HPELS
Dr. Rip Marston
School Health, Physical Education and Leisure Services