Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Why do we cross our hands over at Kids Music Company?

Have you ever wondered why at Kids Music Company we often use our right hand to pat our left knee, or our left hand to pat our right knee during a song? 
Why do we pat our shoulders or our knees then cross our hands over; or clap with our hands back to front; or pat our head and toes at the same time. 
Why do we stamp our feet while we make circles with our hands?

Why do we make a point of doing activities which cause our hands to cross the centre mid-lines of the body, or have different actions going on in different parts of our body?

If you have ever wondered what this was all about, and why it is important please read on…

It is all about developing a sense of mid-line.  So why is mid-line development important?

There are many actions in day to day life which require a child to cross their centre mid-line: reaching for something on the opposite side, putting on a shoe and sock with both hands, washing opposite arms, as well as actions required for sports, music and dance.  A child who has a well-developed sense of mid-line is better coordinated and more comfortable in their own body, but a well-developed sense of mid-line is also important for building brain connections.     

The body has three mid-lines: the imaginary line which runs down the centre front of the body separating the left side from the right; the line across your waist area which separates top from bottom; and the line down your side which separates front from back.  When a child coordinates actions which cross all three mid-lines he/she is building connections across all areas of the brain.  The more connections a child has, the faster they can think. With practice, these connections become reinforced, making information processing in the brain more efficient.

As you are probably aware our thinking brain is made up of two hemispheres, left and right.  Each hemisphere has different functions:
The Left hemisphere looks after
The Right hemisphere looks after
Numbers, letters, spelling, vocabulary, logic, lists, analysis,
Understanding the meaning of words and numbers in context, rhythm, colour, imagination, ‘seeing the whole picture’

By helping children develop connections across the left and right sides of our body we are helping them access both sides of their brains, which is important for school work.  Think about what is required in order for a child to write a story.  He needs to have imagination and visualisation which are right brain functions, but he also needs the vocabulary and understanding of spelling to be able to write the story down.  His left and right brain must work together.  By building connections through physical movement we help integrate those brain areas to give your child greater success in school.

Mid-line even effects eye function.  A child with poor mid-line crossing also has difficulty visually tracking a moving object from one side to the other.  This makes reading difficult as the eyes tend to wobble on the centre line and lose their place. 

So when we look for ways in our classes to shake a hand at the back, while one is shaking at the front; or pat or left knee with our right hand we are doing a lot more than just having fun.  When we cross all those mid-lines just imagine the buzz going on in the brains of our children!!

Some Specific Kids Music Company mid-line songs include
Let’s Jump
(Mango Tango CD)
Draw A Circle
(Mango Tango CD)
Sounding Really Good
(Mango Tango CD)
Criss Cross
(Splish Splash Splosh CD)
Join The Fiesta
(Splish Splash Splosh CD)
Stretchy Cord
(Break Out)
Walk To New York
(Break Out)
Check It Out
(Break Out)
A Clown In The Circus
(Break Out)
Cross Over
(Stay and Play CD)
Pukeko Stomp
(Pukeko Stomp CD)

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