The Benefits of Game-Based Learning in Martial Arts Classes for 5-6 year olds | Gentle East Martial Arts
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Erin Elam reviewed Gentle East Martial Arts
5
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I can’t explain just how amazing this place is! My daughter was born at just 23 weeks, 1lb. She just turned 3, and is doing well but had a long bumpy road. With said, she has some visual impairments, mild cerebral palsy, and severe anxiety issues. We are four classes in now, and although my daughter cries each time we get to the school, the instructors (every single one) ALWAYS treat her like their own and take their time with her. She comes out of class so happy and oh so proud of herself! They do not treat her differently because of her impairments, they are all patient and kind, and above all understanding. We are BEYOND pleased with GEMA, and the staff to include the wonderful families we have met. Thank you GEMA for creating a better world for my daughter!

Marc Grenier reviewed Gentle East Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

An awesome martial arts school that truly cares.

Hillary Hogan reviewed Gentle East Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

I have had a blast. I look forward to continuing to learn each form.

Sharon Takai reviewed Gentle East Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

We love the instructors and family atmosphere! Thank you!

Kathryn Carson reviewed Gentle East Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

I've tried a bunch of martial arts over the years, but it wasn't until I got to Gentle East that I realized that the art itself doesn't matter so much--it's the attitude of its practitioners. These people aren't learning and teaching how to kill, but how to live. How to live despite trauma and illness, and to keep practicing their art even if it's just in their hearts. The tenets are courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, and indomitable spirit, and they mean every word. They teach the kids that other dojangs won't. Autistic, physically challenged, special needs, you name it. They're fully engaged with the messy business of life. A whole lot of families are glad that Master Barbara Robinson followed her vision. Ours is one.

Melody D. Choate reviewed Gentle East Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

Love, love, love this place! The staff is incredibly kind and supportive, and the family atmosphere is palpable the moment you walk in the door! I am so impressed with the work being done with autism spectrum kids, as well as other kids with physical challenges. No one is made to feel like they don't belong here! I even joined the mommy class and my toddlers are allowed to run around us while we work out. I've lost a few pounds, and gained some amazing (non-judgemental) mom-friends! An oasis of kindness and support in the middle of what is often a 'keep up with the Jones's " area of town.

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The Benefits of Game-Based Learning in Martial Arts Classes for 5-6 year olds

When people generally think of “play” they think of fun and games…something simply for amusement and nothing more. However, there is a bigger, and more important, piece that is often overlooked…learning. As Kay Redfield Jamison said, “Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity.”

The same is true for game-based learning. When parents hear this term, they think that their children will only be “playing games” and that no learning will be involved. What a lot do not understand is that game-based learning helps children develop physically, intellectually, emotionally, and socially, all at the same time. And better yet, when information is learned in a fun way, children retain it better and want to continue to participate in the activities.

For 5 and 6-year old’s, specifically, they are at a unique growth period in their life. They are refined in their gross motor skills but are still establishing a foundation in basic fundamental skills. Physically, they still lack a lot of strength. Intellectually, they have a hard time retaining information beyond three commands. Emotionally they act silly when they are nervous or excited, but their confidence is built through making role models proud. Socially, they enjoy the spotlight but tend to lack proper sportsmanship.

After years of research on the stages of child development and learning the Basic SKILLZ martial arts program was created. This program is geared towards developing the basic fundamental skills that 5 and 6-year old’s are lacking. By creating a program that incorporates 4-dimensional instruction, students improve in all developmental stages, all the while, having fun! Coupled with this is a game-based approach to learning that is implemented. This method helps the students become fully engaged in learning because they are “playing a game” and having fun.

For example, one of the drills called “Taking Turns” requires that the students are partnered up. During the directions for the drill, the instructor gives the students a few steps to remember in order to complete the drill correctly. This helps this age group by giving them multiple steps to remember but in a fun way that will be easily retained. Socially, they are working with a partner and focused on good sportsmanship and teamwork. Physically the drill requires the students to perform 20 front kicks, which helps build their strength. Emotionally, by doing these things correctly, they are receiving positive feedback from the instructors which builds their confidence.

By implementing game-based learning into a holistic approach to child development, students associate learning with a strong positive emotion, which helps them retain information better. They are improving the skills necessary for their stage of the development but doing it while having fun. It’s a dual process…it’s fun for them but they are gaining valuable skills as well.