Class One skipping
The children at Castlecrag may often be seen and heard skipping joyously
The children at Castlecrag may often be seen and heard skipping joyously in the playground before and during school. There are some clear benefits in the way this is done and some less obvious ones. First is the sheer joy of the movement. Along with it comes aerobic physical exercise that centres the child, aiding balance, agility and co-ordination. It is differentiated for all abilities from the beginner jumping the slithering snake to the well-conditioned expert performing high speed peppers at the end of a varied routine of synchronized movements.
What about meeting the challenge of the swinging rope? Think of the spatial and mathematical calculations that are required to achieve this. Consider the timing, rhythm, the intervals, the short skip in between; and speaking of mathematics, the counting is not only sequential but is done with one-to-one correspondence which can otherwise be taken for granted. Counting can also be done in multiples for the intermediate-advanced skipper, or be in measurements of time such as the months of the year or days of the week. Learning these rhythmically with joy and imaginative pictures from rhyme is such a contrast to straight academic learning. Number is very closely matched with the rhythmical systems and memory aspects of a child’s constitution. Reciting verses and alliterations strengthens oral language, vocabulary, aids syllabification and develops the sense of poetic metre.
On an interpersonal level, the children are taking turns, patiently waiting and encouraging each other. Teamwork and higher level communication comes in when multiple skippers sidle up together to co-ordinate their turn. Some also have a go at turning the rope. What can be more explicit values learning than actually doing it?
Roger Richards, Class 1 teacher