“If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn.” ~Ignacio Estrada
First day of SKILLZ Ninja School… The day is finally here!
Stepping through the front door, I’m greeted with the sound of laughter, smiling faces and abundant happy cheers.
All around me is joy, of this there is no doubt.
I give my parents a quick hug and squeeze before stepping on the mats with one loud, excited shout!
The mats are so squishy and soft underneath my happy feet; it is all so exciting and new!
I wonder in my mind for a brief moment about all of the fun things we will do!
The teachers are by my side, helping me out on my big first day.
They must really care about me and the other kids to be acting in such a way!
From game-based drills to ninja tricks and other super-awesome moves,
I quickly realize that I’m not out of place in this space because I’ve found my own unique ninja groove!
“This home away from home is much more than a place full of flying side kicks and Superman punches.
It’s my space to learn and grow, to challenge myself and reach for the stars beyond anyone else’s expectations.”
Teaching SKILLZ is a concept born from the ideal that we as parents, teachers, coaches and instructors are all called to help foster and nurture the spark of learning within our children. Their beautiful minds, bodies and spirits are constantly scanning, detecting, experimenting and testing, seeking new information that supports overall their age-appropriate stages of physical, intellectual, emotional and social development.
Over the coming weeks, we will be breaking down the concept of the eight Teaching SKILLZ our team actively uses to help children learn the ways they learn best! Let’s begin with the first two Teaching SKILLZ concepts of Healthy Competition and Choices.
What is Healthy Competition?
Healthy Competition is the first of the eight Teaching SKILLZ concepts. From SKILLZ in depth science and psychology based studies, we know that competition is a tool in which students of all levels step up their game when faced with a challenge if it’s done in a fun, supportive and actively engaged environment. When we as Pediatric Ninja Specialists prompt competition in our game-based drills by splitting the class up into teams for example, we have not only created a healthy environment for teamwork to thrive, but also a foundation of connection with our students in the way they learn best; through the power of play!
What is the concept of Choices in Teaching SKILLZ all about?
Choices is the second of the Teaching SKILLZ concepts that our team uses when supporting our students on and beyond the mats. When we give children the power of choice, they automatically become more engaged. Why? Because they are getting to make the call, exercising their own independence which leads to more motivation and greater effort naturally on their part.
How can these concepts help my child beyond the mats?
Great question Proud Ninja Parent! Whether your child is enjoying classes on the mats or time with you at home, Teaching SKILLZ is a supportive concept that you can always have at the ready in your back pocket to help your child in a variety of situations.
Here’s just a few inspirations to get your own creative Teaching SKILLZ ideas flowing:
Time to put the folded laundry away!
Instead of just telling your child to kindly put their clothes away, why not bring in the Teaching SKILLZ element of Healthy Competition to complete the mission of the moment in a fun, active way!
Simply create a starting line from which your child will begin; “On your marks, get set, GOOSE!” Did they flinch, wiggle or wobble at the sound of Goose vs. Go?! Taking a stack of clean clothes one pile at a time on the command of “Go!” see who gets all of their clean laundry put away in the correct place first; you or your SKILLZ Strong Ninja!
As an added bonus, if your child wins, do ten or twenty push-ups at the end of your game. Kiddos LOVE beating their parents in the spirit of Healthy Competition! Seeing you do push-ups for a change is a treat that will only further motivate them in the future to get done what needs to be done in the fun, supportive environment you have created beyond the mats.
“I’m so hungry!”
Utilize the power of Choices to help your child exert their own independence and ability to make good decisions on their own.
Create a go-to safe snacks list that can be kept up to date on the fridge at home; I highly recommend a dry erase board for this. Write down safe, healthy snack choices that you are comfortable with your child choosing from when they are feeling hungry between meals.
This is an active way your child can practice their independence while ensuring the choices being made are pre-approved by you. On busy days especially, this Teaching SKILLZ concept is a great tool to use.
Have younger Ninjas still learning all about reading? No worries! Simply swap out the words for pictures on their healthy choices chart.
Enjoying Healthy Competition and Choices on and beyond the mats are just two ways we are helping to teach children in the way they learn best. If you need more ideas regarding these first two Teaching SKILLZ concepts, please don’t hesitate to connect with our team! We are always excited and happy to help brainstorm new, fun creative ideas that help support both children and parents on and beyond the mats.
About the Author
Meg Klettke is the proud owner alongside her husband, Alex of Family Strong Sussex, a SKILLZ Lifetime Gold studio in Southeastern Wisconsin. With a background in traditional and alternative therapeutics, Meg is an active advocate for today’s youth. Her passion for supporting and nurturing the whole child resonates through all she does as a Proud Ninja Mom of two boys with special needs, Certified Pediatric Ninja Specialist and Content Creator for SKILLZ Worldwide.