Creating a Group Zone
The synergy of the whole group moving and learning together creates a powerful learning potential.
Right from the beginning of the school year, we create our Group Zone.
Each of us has our own personal zone — the space immediately around us, and our personal space and state within us. When we come together, the synergy of the group with everyone moving and learning together creates a powerful learning potential and a dynamic of its own — the group zone.
In classes, I emphasize the relationship of the personal zone within the group zone. This supports children in working together while taking care of their own needs and contributing to the group in their unique individual ways.
Throughout the class, I watch the excitement levels of the children in the group — how they are relating to and expressing their own excitement, and relating to one another. I change the speed, duration, and timing of the activities in relation to the children’s excitement as they move around the room.
The children practice establishing and maintaining their personal space bubble within the group. The children explore what it is like to shrink and expand their personal space bubble around themselves and in relation to others.
We talk about different personal space needs or expectations in different situations and cultures. We address the differences between protecting your personal space, invading someone else’s, and sharing personal space.
They share their personal space to create small group shapes and whole group shapes.
They play group games like space invaders where two children try to burst everyone’s personal space bubbles by tagging them while everyone else helps each other to establish (and re-establish if tagged) their personal space bubble.
Participating in Group Games
Using skills from my aikido training, I have created movement practices and games designed to develop the children’s ability to engage safely in the fast-paced group space. This means not only paying attention to how you are moving and to other children in the group but also, to the open spaces in the group —- how you are affecting the changing patterns of the whole group space. For example, to emphasize the ever-changing spatial relationships in the group, the children play swerving away games, open space seekers, and space shifters. They practice developing “awareness antennas” or movement sensors.
Managing Your Inner Personal Space and Inner State Within the Group Zone
Drawing from principles from Formative Psychology®, I create group movement practices that explore how the children physically shape their emotional reactions and can participate in the forming of their feelings and their responses to group situations.
For the last part of each movement class, the children play fast-paced movement games, during which they have many opportunities to apply and practice their body-based self-management tools within the group games (More about this to come in future posts).