feeling that the body is the most important piece of equipment in movement
experiences, I realize that using actual equipment can add another dimension
to—and increase the challenge of—an activity. So, where appropriate, the sec-
tion Adding Equipment has been included, offering suggestions for the use of
hoops, scarves, streamers, and other props generally available in early childhood
classrooms. Benefits of Moving & Learning
Movement experiences in general—and this curriculum specifically—have
many benefits for children. They exercise the whole body, including the mind,
and not just the muscles; they create a love of movement that should develop
into a lifetime desire for physical fitness; and their success-oriented philosophy
provides numerous opportunities for learning, participating, and enjoying. The
following are some of their more specific benefits.

Physical Development
Perhaps the simplest and most important reason children should be allowed
and encouraged to move is to develop movement skills.

Although it is commonly believed children automatically acquire motor
skills as their bodies develop, maturation only means that children will be
able to execute most movement skills at a low performance level. Continu-
ous practice and instruction are needed if the child’s performance level and
movement repertoire are to increase (Gallahue and Cleland Donnelly 2003). In
other words, once a child is able to creep and walk, gross-motor skills should be
taught—just as other abilities are taught. Furthermore, special attention should
be paid to children demonstrating gross-motor delays, as such delays will not
simply disappear over time.

As Linda Carson explains, families and teachers “would not advocate learn-
ing to read or communicate by having their children enter a ‘gross cognitive
area’ where children could engage in self-selected ‘reading play’ with a variety
of books” (2001, 9). Similarly, engaging in unplanned, self-selected physical
Introduction 3