Monday, October 18, 2010

Perceptual-Motor Lesson Plans, Level 1 (A Rich Resource Review)

Using some or our sensorimotor skills for fall fun!
A while back, Karen Tyler, whose helpful Montessori class I have taken, mentioned sensorimotor activities as a part of her Montessori presentation rotation.  When I asked her about them, she suggested I look into Jack Capon’s perceptual motor development books or workshops.  What an awesome tip that was!  No sooner did I have Perceptual Motor Lesson Plans in hand from the Virtual Library Catalogue than did I realize I had found a gem!

Luke needs core-strengthening activities and more goodies for his Sensory Diet.  Nina craves lots of gross motor activities.  Mama loves Montessori-friendly materials and also appreciates easy-to-understand-and-implement activities since time and life-balance elude our family so often of late.  Jack Capon’s Perceptual-Motor Lesson Plans some through to help us with all this!

So, here’s my review about this rich resource (based on review criteria explained here.):

Perceptual-Motor Lesson Plans, Level 1: Basic and "Practical" Lesson Plans for Perceptual-Motor Programs in Preschool and Elementary Grades 
* * * * ¼

The copy of Jack Capon’s book I used is an oldie, but a goodie.  In other words, it presents easily readable content in a font that is not as fancy and appealing as some of today’s printed ones are.  In truth, it appears the manuscript was done on a typewriter that had basic and italics type only, but no bold, etc.  Some might find this a drawback, but oodles of clearly-drawn diagrams, enough white pace and clear – albeit old –formatting make it work for me.  Despite older font issues, the book is plenty easy enough to read and digest while watching the kids.  In fact, because the kids liked the diagrams in it so much, we found ourselves reading-and-doing as we read it, with the kids pointing to an activity asking me to read it and do it with them right away.  So, I am giving a ¾ star for readability – the ¼ subtraction only for those who can’t focus with older typesetting.  (The version we have is even older than the one pictured here, so perhaps the newer version has better typesetting.)

As I just mentioned, I barely had the book cracked open when the kids began asking me to guide them through activities included in it (which, as you can see from the picture to the right, I did, adapted to the materials we had on hand).  After doing so – and reading the book with a bit more focus and thought– I quickly determined that Perceptual-Motor Lesson Plans is extremely relevant for our family and would be a great resource for any family, daycare or school working with pre-k through third grade students.  With 25 weekly perceptual-motor lessons based on promoting Balance Skills, Locomotor Skills, Hand-Eye Coordination, Foot-Eye Coordination and Body and Space Awareness, the book serves as a ready-made resource for including motor-development lessons in early education.  With three distinct and easy-to-follow-and-implement activity station descriptions per lesson, it also can serve as a menu for sensory integration breaks, rainy day hallway fun or outdoor planned activities for lawn or driveway.  We love it and are already incorporating ideas into our Jammies School curriculum.  Another star!

Likewise, the book easily earns a practicality star.  It not only serves up easily-implemented activities that help my kids develop essential motor skills right now, but it provides notes on procuring or making needed equipment for the activities we have yet to do in it.  And, should I want to use the book for a co-op class or group of friends (or should others want to use it for classroom, co-op, camp, etc. settings), it contains notes on planning programs – from classroom set up to how to introduce and implement lessons.  And – bonus – the book offers easily understood explanations of perceptual-motor terminology and an assessment that can be done with children before starting the program.  It really is a complete resource for parents and educators to use in effectively introducing and building efficient movement skills, improved sensory functioning and positive self-image among young children.  Thus, a hands-down star for practicality.

And how about longevity?  Hmmm?  I know I can use the book for at least the next four or five years between Luke, Nina and Jack, but others who have only one or two young children pre-k through third grade age, the book might not be a resource that lasts.  So, I am giving it a ½ star for longevity.  (It would be a full one for those, like me, with a number of small children or for educators and institutions that works year-after-year with a k-3 crowd.)

And, finally, value…  I am giving it a full star here, because even though I don’t have the extra funds to purchase Perceptual-Motor Lesson Plans right now, I know I will be taking it out of the library again and again.  (How could I not when it inspires such fun as the obstacle course pictured to the left while also providing plans for more formal activities?)   And, since I had to go through our statewide Virtual Library catalog system in order to preview the book to begin with, I am aware that you may not be able to get a copy in hand before deciding if it would be a valuable resource for you, too.  Thus, I might suggest that you take a look at the preview available here of a different, but similar, version of the book, and, then, if you do decide to purchase it, go through the publisher, Front Row Experience, should Amazon and other sellers not have copies in stock. It would be worth the extra effort!  

Thanks to Karen Tyler's suggestion and the deceased Jack Capon's wonderful work, sensorimotor activities are now a part of our Montessori-inspired Phys Ed curriculum, as well as a key ingredient for Luke's sensory diet.  Whoo hoo!

What great resources for P.E. and sensory activities do you know?  Please share with a comment or link.

This post is being shared at One Hook Wonder's Montessori Monday.  be sure to check out links there for other good Montessori-inspired ideas and curriculum.


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