Thursday, November 7, 2019

A Tribute to Our Team

A tribute to our Team:

As another year slowly draws to a close we find ourselves reflecting on the year that has gone in a blink of an eye, and realise how fortunate we are to have the most amazing team. We want to share our genuine and heartfelt appreciation with every one of you.

You are all out there every day travelling from school to school, unselfishly and tirelessly giving of yourselves to these little ones to enrich their lives, in the hope that you will inspire and positively influence the future generation. Then it’s back home, working till late at night doing admin, trying to balance being a business owner, instructor, partner and parent, juggling all the balls and managing to keep them in the air! 

Over the years we have seen you blossom and grow into the wonderful people you are today, your loyalty, dedication and passion is priceless. Many of you go through personal hardships, but you still keep your heads up and give it your all. Without you, this business would not be where it is today. You keep our business moving forward.

You may be the stones that start the ripple in the ocean leading children to a fitter healthier future, but in our eyes, you are our rocks and we want to express our sincere thanks and gratitude to you all.

We wish you all the best for your upcoming End of Year Displays.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Parents often ask me - "How do you do it?!"

Parents often ask me - "How do you do it?!"
Here is my reason - my Catrobatkidz are my reason! They have given me every reason I ever needed!

They have given me every bit of Happiness I ever wanted, they have have taught me more about myself and a million things about the world. They have given me challenges to better myself, they have continued to show me what true strength is - how to never give up if you fail the first time. They have each shared their own world with me helping me understand little lives that much better. They have shaped me into the instructor I am today!

They have made my days brighter when I needed it, made me laugh till my tummy hurts, made me smile till my cheeks get stiff, made my worries feel small and my blessings big, made me cry when I feel I haven't given enough or got it right but most importantly they taught me, made me master the art of adaptability, made me realise how the small things in life count, made me understand that its not all about perfection but more about letting go from things you can't control, for showing me love has no limitations, made me step out my comfort zone, made me do things I would never do, they made every day memorable! They made me want to achieve higher and do better for them.

To state I am proud wouldn't be enough.

As this year starts to come to an end, my heart is overwhelmed by your achievements and success, my heart is beaming with pride that I had the privilege to be apart of your little lives, my heart is smiling at how far you all have come and I have absolute faith that you are going to move mountains and conquer at life, my heart will always hold each and everyone of you dearly for each reason you have given me.

"Speak to Children as if they are the wisest, kindest most beautiful and magical humans on earth for what they believe is what they will become!"

Children are the Future! ⭐

Tayla / Catrobatkidz Randburg & Sandton

Monday, August 12, 2019

With Love from Tayla

To my Catrobats stars- I am a better Coach because I have worked with you. You have taught me that there is more to the school day than academics, checking off the standards, running errands, worries and problems.Through you, I have learned to respect other cultures, to embrace change and difference, and to test my own perspectives on life. Through you, I have learned that teaching and coaching little beings in the real world is much different than how it was portrayed in my manuals and textbooks.

“Adults are just outdated children.”  — Dr. Seuss

Every learner is different, that I know. But with each learner bringing their strengths and challenges to the table, you have so much more to offer. Because of your cultural diversities and your worldly experiences at such a young age, you come from families that have much to share. Along with your strengths, comes wisdom beyond your years. Along with your challenges, comes an opportunity to educate your teachers and coaches about a world beyond our upbringing.

Your are so loved, for all the humor and different perspectives on life you bring to every lesson.

You are so loved for every 30 minutes spent with you gives me so much hope for a beautiful future for me and you.

You are so loved for every somersault you show me true perseverance, for each balancing act you show me practice makes perfect, for each jump, tuck, roll, squat or beat you show me how hard work and dedication gives the best results.

You are so loved for ever dance move, every stretch and every giggle you teach me how it can be the simplest things that bring the biggest happiness.

You are so loved beyond measure for you are uniquely you in every form, shape and colour.

You are so loved for your tiny hearts have the measure.

With tears in my eyes, I can assure you that there are not enough kind words or expressions to accurately portray my admiration for you. You have shown me the meaning of hard work. You have taught me about dedication, perseverance, and overcoming obstacles that human beings shouldn’t be faced with.

My heart beams with pride at the little voices of... "Teacher Tayla- I showed mommy what we did and she high fived me!"

Teacher Tayla- "I can do it ALL by myself! Watch this"

Teacher Tayla- " You the Best and I love you! "

“Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.”  — Charles R. Swindoll, Evangelical Christian pastor

To my students with disabilities and learning challenges, you inspire me daily. You have so much to offer this world. Although you might recently feel like the larger world doesn’t have your back, you need to know that the small community that surrounds you most certainly does. I will never stop tirelessly working for you. You are going to be the most successful version of you that is possible. Your hearts are golden and you are so loved. You show me that absolutely nothing is impossible. You have the biggest hearts and most precious souls and you always suprise me with you willingness to conquer any obstacle.

"Every child is a different kind of flower, and all together, make this world a beautiful garden." 

With Love from Tayla - Catrobatkidz Randburg & Sandton

Friday, June 7, 2019

This is Why I Love what I do

This is Why I Love what I do:

There is a silence in the Catrobatkidz class!
A strange silence….

Concentration has never been such a serious matter. Seriousness forms his whole face. Eyes trapped in the moment of what he is now going to do. Lips pulled tight together. I can see that he is going to do everything I taught him, and he is going to try his best.
He’s gonna go for it!
He raises his chin, arms flying up in the air, and then there is that silence again as he leaps. Sailing through the air you hear him breathe in as he raises his knees up high. Now for the landing. Perfect… feet stuck to the ground, not a movement…

My hands clap together, what a wonderful jump!
He looks at me, eyes wide with excitement and blurts out, “Teacher I did it!”
My heart swells with pride, and I reply, “Bravo, you are a Catrobat super star!”
What a wonderful moment for this little one standing in front of me, beaming with confidence.

This is why I love teaching, it’s not just something I do, it’s what we achieve during every lesson with every child and the rewards they give back to me.
The way they run up to me with eagerness and enthusiasm when I arrive at a school…shouting out, “Catrobat is here!” asking, “What are we going to do today?"
The way they soak up every experience, and are always ready to explore and master something new each lesson, from the small things to the bigger ones.
The way they grow as little people… and I have the privilege to be a small part of this.

I am Elize, every half an hour Catrobatkidz class is the best half an hour of my day!

Monday, March 11, 2019

Balance & Coordination

Balance & Coordination

What is balance and coordination?
Balance is the ability to maintain a controlled body position during task performance, whether it is sitting at a table, walking the balance beam or stepping up onto a kerb. To function effectively across environments and tasks, we need the ability to maintain controlled positions during both static (still) and dynamic (moving) activities.
Static balance is the ability to hold a stationary position with control (e.g. “Freeze” or “statue” games). Dynamic balance is the ability to remain balanced while engaged in movement (e.g. running or bike riding).
Why are balance and coordination important?
Age appropriate balance and coordination allows the child to be involved in the sports participation with a reasonable degree of success as it aids fluid body movement for physical skill performance (e.g. walking a balance beam or playing football). The involvement in sport is helpful in maintaining self regulation for daily tasks as well as developing a social network and achieving a sense of belonging in a community or social setting. It also helps children develop and maintain appropriate controlled body movement during task performance which, when effective, limits the energy required thus minimising fatigue.
With good balance and coordination there is less likelihood of injury as the child is likely to have appropriate postural responses when needed (e.g. putting hands out to protect themselves when they  fall of their bike). The physical attributes of balance and coordination also allow appropriate posture for table top tasks and subsequent success at fine motor tasks.
What are the building blocks necessary to develop balance and coordination?
  • Attention and concentration: The ability to maintain attention to a specific task for an extended period of time as the core strength is not challenged.
  • Body Awareness: Knowing body parts and understanding the body’s movement in space in relation to other limbs and objects for negotiating the environment or ball and bike skills.
  • Bilateral integration: Using two hands together with one hand leading: e.g. holding a tennis racquet with the non-dominant hand with the ‘helping’ non-dominant hand holding and stabilising only between hits.
  • Crossing Mid-line: The ability to cross the imaginary line running from the child’s nose to pelvis that divides the body into left and right sides, which also influences hand dominance.
  • Hand eye coordination: The ability to process information received from the eyes to control, guide and direct the hands in the performance of a given task such as handwriting or catching a ball.
  • Hand Dominance: The consistent use of one (usually the same) hand for task performance which is necessary to allow refined skills to develop.
  • Muscular strength: A muscles ability to exert force against resistance (e.g when climbing a tree to push or pull up).
  • Muscular endurance: The ability of a singular muscle or group of muscles to exert force repeatedly against resistance to allow sustained physical task engagement.
  • Self regulation: The ability to obtain, maintain and change alertness level appropriate for a task or situation which then allows better attention to the task.
  • Postural Control: The ability to stabilize the trunk and neck to enable coordination of the limbs for controlled task performance.
  • Body Awareness (Proprioception): The information that the brain receives from the muscles and joints to make us aware of body position and body movement which in turn allows skills to become ‘automatic’.
  • Sensory processing: The accurate processing of sensory stimulation in the environment as well as in our own body for quick and physically appropriate responses to movement.
  • Isolated movement: The ability to move an arm or leg while keeping the remainder of the body still needed for refined movement (e.g. throwing a ball on handed or swimming freestyle).
How can I tell if my child has problems with balance and coordination?
If a child has difficulties with balance and coordination they might:
  • Fall easily, trip often or can’t ‘recover’ quickly from being off balance.
  • Move stiffly and lack fluid body movement (e.g. run like a ‘robot’).
  • Avoid physical activity (e.g. playground use, sports participation).
  • Be late to reach developmental milestones (e.g. crawling and walking).
  • Be slower than their peers to master physical skills (e.g. bike riding, swimming or tree climbing).
  • Be less skillful than their peers in refined sports participation (e.g. team sports).
  • Push harder, move faster or invade the personal space of others more than they intend to.
  • Be fearful of new physical games (e.g. swings) or scared of heights that do not faze their peers.
  • Have difficulty getting dressed standing up (e.g. they need to sit down to get put pants as as they lose their balance standing on one leg).
  • Have trouble navigating some environments (e.g. steps, kerbs, uneven ground).
  • Tire more quickly then their peers or need to take regular short rest periods during physical activity.
What other problems can occur when a child has balance and coordination difficulties?
When a child has balance and coordination difficulties, you may also see difficulties with:
  • Motor (muscle) planning of how to perform a physical task (e.g. they may start at step three not one).
  • ‘Floppy’ or ‘rigid’ muscle tone: Floppy muscles make the limbs looks limp or alternatively overly ‘tight’ muscles make the limbs look rigid.
  • Spatial awareness of how they are using or placing their body (e.g. so that they unintentionally invade other peoples personal space without knowing it).
  • Low Endurance for physical (fine and gross motor) tasks.
  • Pre-writing skill development: sloppy or excessively heavy pencil strokes that comprise most letters, numbers and early drawing.
  • Pencil grasp: The efficiency of, and the manner in which, the pencil is held in drawing and writing is often compromised (too loose or extremely tight and heavy in pressure).
  • Pencil control: The accuracy with which the child moves the pencil for drawing and writing.
  • Left right discrimination: Conceptualising directional difference so the child ‘knows’ the difference between left and right side of the body.
  • Hand dominance: The consistent use of one (usually the same) hand for task performance which is necessary to allow refined skills to develop.
  • Articulation: Clarify of speech sounds and spoken language.
  • Self care: Dressing independently,  holding and using cutlery, tooth brush as but some examples.
  • Sensory processing: Accurate registration, interpretation and response to sensory stimulation in the environment and their own body.
What can be done to help improve balance and coordination skills?
  • Improve attention to task and alertness levels to support a rapid response when they lose their balance.
  • Explicit teaching of mechanics: Correct alignment of the body in order to maintain balance (e.g. aiming at and facing the body towards the target when throwing).
  • Strengthen the ‘core’ namely the central muscles of the body to provide greater body (especially trunk) stability.
  • Simplify tasks to concentrate on only one movement at a time, until the child is ready to integrate several at once.
  • Improve muscle strength to allow for better muscle control for speed and direction of movement.
  • Improve muscular endurance to increase the length of time with which the child can maintain balance and coordination.
  • Improve sensory processing to ensure the body is receiving and interpreting the correct messages from the muscles in terms of their position, their relationship to each other, the speed at which they move and how much force they are using.
  • Social motivators: If a child has a friend or family member involved in a sport, they may be more persistent in participating and practicing those specific skills.
What activities can help improve balance and coordination?
  • Unstable surfaces: Walking over unstable surfaces (e.g. pillows, bean bags or blankets on the floor) that make the trunk work hard to maintain an upright position.
  • Unstable swings and moving games including suspended climbing ladders and jungle gyms. When swings move in unexpected ways it forces the trunk muscles to work harder.
  • Wheelbarrow walking (the child ‘walking’ on their hands while an adult holds their legs off the floor).
  • Swimming: Involves the body having to work against resistance of the water, thus providing better awareness of where the body is in space.
  • Kneeling (with no hands touching the floor) to tap a balloon back to another person.
  • Hopscotch: Requires the child to switch movement patterns frequently and rapidly.
  • Stepping stone games with big jumps (i.e. no steps between the ‘stones’) challenge a child’s balance.
  • Bike and scooter: Both activities require the child to continually make postural adjustments to maintain balance. 
If left untreated what can difficulties with balance and coordination lead to?
When children having difficulties with balance and coordination they might also have difficulties with:
  • Social isolation as they might struggle to participate in social activities such as pool parties, birthday parties at a physical activity location (e.g. Bounce, Latitude, Ice skating, ten pin bowling) and other physical play with friends.
  • Poor self esteem when they realise their skills do not match their peers.
  • Bullying when others become more aware of the child’s difficulties.
  • Poor fine motor skills (e.g. writing, drawing and cutting) due to poor core stability meaning they do not have a strong base to support the controlled and efficient use of their arms and hands.
  • Inability to ride a bike or scooter, which will limit the options for play with peers as many like to ride their bikes as a means of catching up with friends.
This article extracted from Kid Sense

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Why is Jumping one of the Best Exercises for Children?

Why is Jumping one of the Best Exercises for Children?
(Knee and Leg mobility)

Jumping is not only fun, it is beneficial as well. It brings physical, health, and educational benefits together. The best part is it is simple and cost effective. Even if you child prefers to play alone, or is not into sports, they'll be getting a pysical workout without knowing it. Leaner, stronger, improved co-ordination and core strength are but few of the benefits of jumping.

Children can jump anytime of the day and anywhere, exploring and learning to control different movement patterns of their bodies. Gaining flexibility and improved posture.

It is always fun to have a couple of hula hoops as these are often used for jumping exercises and to demarcate a target area.

Jumping Exercises:
Put a hoop on the floor. Let the child stand in the hoop. Give instructions like: jump forward, backwards, and to the sides in relation to the hoop. Let the child hold a stick in each hand. Let him jump up and down with his feet together and then hit the two sticks against one another. Let him do this activity in this sequence. Count and demonstrate: “Jump 1-2-3, hit the sticks together 1-2-3.” Repeat this sequence a few times. Kicking a ball: Let the child run towards the ball and kick it. The child will copy what you do. Run slowly towards the ball and kick it. Encourage the child to do the same. When he manages this well, one can make a goal post or put a dustbin or some object in front of him, which he must try to kick over with the ball. Let the child stand on a step or a chair. Let him jump off into a hoop on the floor. For older child you can make it more difficult by putting the hoop further away from the step or chair he is standing on. Let the child play games on steps. He can jump up and down in different ways i.e. on one leg or with both feet together. Put a rope on the floor. Let the child walk on the rope, jump over the rope and jump in different ways in relation to the rope. Take the rope at one end and move it fast, for it to look like a snake sailing. The child must jump over the rope. Arrange a few old tyres in two rows, next to on another on the ground. The child can play different games on the tyres, i.e. to jump from one tyre to another or jump diagonally, etc. Put a few hoops on the floor. Let the child jump from one hoop to another keeping his two feet together. He can pretend to be a rabbit jumping from one stone to another across a river. Put a few hoops on the floor in a row. Let the child jump from one hoop to another in a certain sequence. E.g. jump with two feet together in the first hoop, jump with feet wide apart in the second hoop and on one leg in the third. Repeat the sequence to the end of the row of hoops. Let the child skip with a hoop. He must hold the hoop above his head with both hands. Let him swing the hoop towards his legs and jump over it. As the child’s skills improve, he can turn the hoop to go over his head and then jump over it again. Use a fairly large target i.e. a hoop and suspend it above the ground. Let the child lie on his back and hold a ball between his feet. He must now raise his legs towards his chest, bend his knees and kick forward to release the ball to go through the hoop. He must lift his head from the floor during this activity to see where he is aiming the ball; he may not use his hands to support his head during this activity. Tie a piece of rope or elastic to the two legs of two chairs about 15cm above the floor. The child must then run and try to jump over the rope. Let the child see how far he can jump with his two feet together. He must run up to a certain point and then jump; measure the distance. Let two children “sit-lie” on the floor with feet against one another, lifted from the floor. They lie on their backs and must also keep their heads lifted from the floor during this exercise. Let them try to push one another away by pushing only with their feet. Jumping exercise: Place two hoops on the floor, touching each other. Let the child start by standing with the left foot in the front hoop and the right foot in the back hoop. Bend at the waist and place hands on floor. Then he must jump in such a way that he will end up with his left foot at the back and right foot forward. Let him do this repeatedly. Let the child lie on his back with you standing a distance away from him, facing him. He must lift his head to see when you throw a beach ball for him. Let him try to kick the ball back to you with both feet. He is not allowed to support his head with his arms during this exercise.