Palmer’s Gym educationalists main focus is the positive development of EVERY child. 

palmers gym ball
Our Movement Education school program goes some way to achieving the positive development for the majority of children, in the area of the development of physical attributes, growth in self esteem and confidence, for the children of Bendigo.

Palmer’s Gym Movement Education school program (educational gymnastics) is the key to efficient and successful movement in all games and sports. Their specialised program (educational gymnastics) is the CORE of physical education, so it MUST be taught in order for children to make the connections of relevance to what they are motivated to do and play in everyday life.

Movement Education and play for young children is wonderful. It stimulates them, exercises them and opens their vital little bodies. However, skills aren’t important for children, what IS important is that they learn to feel good about their body, to develop confidence from completeing tasks. In our Movement Education program, no task is ever too difficult, so confidence, because of the multi-activity involvement, grows very rapidly. It then has a snowball effect; ie. more movement, more ‘skills’, more confidence, even more movement (at a higher level) and so on.
How our ‘Movement Education’ program came about......

‘In one huge dramatic action (back in the 1980’s) we sold our sets of uneven bars, high bars, rings and beams and re-equipped ourselves with child-based, movement attribute based equipment. We designed and manufactured various pieces to offer a progression in skill acquisition eg. equipment that ‘grows’ or can be modified to suit that age or the stage of skill learning of the child.

Children have a spirit of adventure, a ‘desire to dare’ so we introduced trampolines and tumbling floors; we also made sure that all of our equipment was multi-coloured and thus highly attractive to the eye of the child. We created a fun-learning environment that enabled the equipment presented to be utilised as a Resource Centre for Movement.

  1. 1. Ambience of the learning environment – fun but disciplined. We have ‘fun’ on the equipment....we do not ‘work’ on it!
  2. 2. Enough equipment for a ‘Complete Immersion’ in Movement. As all children are so busy ‘moving’, no one has the time to view another child and possibly criticise their movement behaviour. What children experience in our unique program is, session by session, a visible and quantifiable improvement in movement tasks and challenges. This is itself provides the desire to want to do more and achieve more. ‘Gym changes the I can’t into the I can!’
  3. 3. Inbuilt progression; raising the challenge standard set but still allowancing for individual differences. All children are different. Without exception, our Movement Education school program enthuses each child. They are encouraged (by the music, the multi-coloured equipment, the feel of the equipment) to be involved, at their own level, and interact with the equipment. They move at their own level and pace but the progressions are inbuilt; ed. ten wedges of varying incline angles that enable the children to acquire sequentially the ability to roll and then transfer this to a flat mat.
  4. 4. Letting children learn by not interfering with the process of throwing too much information or advice at them. Our program is geared for preparation. Laying the foundations of the movement attributes (balance, rhythm...) and also igniting and maintaining the desire to accomplish more. 
  5. 5. It is a misconception that teaching causes learning. Learning is a responsibility that cannot be shared. Learning must be consciously pursued by the child. Our ‘immersion’ of movement guarentees that every student will feel so good about themselves that they aggressively pursue learning because it is fun, they can see and feel that they’re getting better!

All sessions are interspersed with the question being asked;
‘Who has done something that they have never done before?’
and they are asked to demonstrate - only if they desire. We always celebrate their succesess.

Session Outline; Prep to Grade 6palmers gym john palmer
Sessions are of one hour duration (45 minutes for Prep students). This time span has been set as the best ‘value for visit’. Although the physiological demands are great ie. non-stop involvement; the nature of the activities and the intrinsic motivation of the children when they are exposed to the program, ensure the pace and nature of the involvement and interaction doesn’t slacken.

1. Sessions begin with a 2-3 minute introduction period. The children are seated and the formalities of the session are carried out. This is the perfect opportunity to a) remind the children about particular behaviours or movement executions; b) to get eye contact with every child; c) to raise expectation
2. The Warm-up part of the session works endurance, explosive speed and flexibility. The locomotor patterns set, also works coordination and rhythm. All activities are to music, exhibiting the appropriate beat; Music is selected on a) rhythm, b) appeal to age group, c) locomotor patterns to be worked on. Jumps (star, tuck, straight jumps) are interspersed for that dynamic aspect of fitness but also as the perfect vehicle for the development of coordination and awareness.
3. Apparatus; the foundation of the ‘immersion’, necessities and encourages non-stop movement in, around and on the equipment. Interaction with the equipment, responding to the challenges places a physical demand on the body, whether its demand on strength, flexibility, local endurance or a mixture of them all. One HUGE advantage is that the appeal and attraction of using the multi-coloured equipment, masks the actual demands.

One can marvel at the actual amount of physical activity accomplished during one session...