College of Public Health to Offer New Movement Education Online Course

Children use movement to learn in the classroom. Temple will offer a new online course - Movement and Learning in Early Childhood - this summer

Children are innate movers. Running, walking, climbing, jumping — it’s all part of how they learn about the world around them. Movement is also an important part of how they learn in the classroom.

Beginning in summer 2015, the Temple University College of Public Health will be offering a new graduate online course designed to teach early childhood educators, care providers, and physical educators how to safely and effectively incorporate movement education into their classrooms.

“Movement education in an early childhood setting is essential to helping children establish these formative skills — hopping, jumping, skipping, running — that they will use for a lifetime,” said Dr. Jeffrey Gehris, Associate Professor of Kinesiology, who designed the new course. “Movement has long been considered an integral part of how young children learn. Pennsylvania’s early learning standards mandate that early childhood educators plan and conduct lessons that contribute to young children’s physical development and gross motor skills, which in turn greatly enhances children’s spatial awareness.”

Early childhood educators, care providers, and physical educators, however, typically receive very little training about implementing movement education for young children during their teacher certification programs or in-service training, according to Gehris.

“Many teachers are very creative in what they are doing in the classroom and in finding ways to incorporate movement into their lessons, which is critical, but few of them have had any formal instruction in movement education techniques and concepts for young children,” he said. “They need help to incorporate movement education within the daily classroom activities they do with children.”

The new course, Movement and Learning in Early Childhood, is designed to help fill that gap in teacher education in a way that is convenient to working professionals and current or prospective graduate students, Gehris said, while also satisfying credentialing and continuing education requirements.

Movement and Learning in Early Childhood will be offered online with one full-day Saturday class that may be taken at Temple University Ambler or Temple University Harrisburg during the first summer session of 2015, which begins on May 11. Online Information Sessions about Movement and Learning in Early Childhood (PHETE 5601) will be held on Tuesday, March 10, from 6 to 7 p.m. and Tuesday, March 24, from 4 to 5 p.m. Interested participants should contact Dr. Jeffrey Gehris at 215-204-1954 or jgehris@temple.edu to register and receive access information for the WebEx sessions.

“The course will benefit anyone involved in early childhood education — teachers, home childcare professionals and physical education teachers who are instructing pre-school and elementary school children,” Gehris said. “It’s equally beneficial for graduate students in the College of Public Health, the College of Education and other disciplines who are interested in using movement as a medium in their work and who will often be working with children.”

In addition to WebEx sessions that will allow students in the new course to participate in real time, learning from and sharing their experiences with their peers, the course will use video modules focused on five specific topics related to movement education. Topics include: How to Teach Basic Movement Skills and Concepts; How to Use Movement to Teach Academic Concepts such as math, literacy and reading; Ways to Facilitate Children’s Free Play that  encourage physical activity, but do not hinder creativity and imagination; Using Music to Encourage Movement; and How to Use Movement for Classroom Management.

“Teachers are key role models for children’s movement and children need to move in order to learn,” Gehris said. “When teachers and children move together it helps strengthen the teacher/student bond and helps children learn. It’s also essential for the health of the children and the teachers alike.”

For more information about Movement and Learning in Early Childhood (PHETE 5601) contact Dr. Jeffrey Gehris at 215-204-1954 or jgehris@temple.edu.