- Blog By
Sumita Sen Mazumdar
Principal – Erode KG Campus
The Indian Public School – Erode.
April, 07 2022 | In Blog
As any child psychologist and top preschool will tell you, movement is very important in the developmental years. Creeping, crawling, walking, running, jumping, to name a few, as well as crossing the midline activities have a vital role to play.
MEANING OF MIDLINE AND WHY CROSS IT?
The midline is an imaginary line running right from the centre of the top of our head and going all the way down to the midpoint between our two feet if we keep them together. This imaginary line divides our body into two equal sections, side to side. A “crossing the midline” activity means physical movement that starts from one side of the midline and crosses over to the other side.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
Why should we encourage crossing the midline activities in PreKG, KG1 & KG2? This can be understood by the fact that it promotes strong communication between the left and right hemispheres of the brain, which in turn forges stronger neural pathways that lead to physical stability, better-coordinated movements as well as strengthening the ability to learn and retain what is learnt.
1. Gross motor skill development: Coordination and sense of balance improve. Better day-to-day self-regulation for daily activities of living.
2. Developing fine motor skills for the dominant hand: Crossing over movements will improve dominant hand control by increasing hand strength and coordination.
3. Increases core strength: General fitness and stamina increase with midline crossing exercises that involve rotating the trunk.
4. Improves proprioception sense: Proprioception is the ability to sense the position, orientation, and movement of various body parts in relation to the space around us.
5. Contribution to up-skilling and independence: Once a child is confident with their movements & grips, they can focus more attention on finer aspects of activities like dressing neatly and quickly, eating by themselves without spilling, following the proper sequence while writing out words or numbers, etc.
WHAT DOES NOT BEING ABLE TO CROSS THE MIDLINE LOOK LIKE?
A child is unable to go all the way to the other side of the midline. They seem to get stuck mid-movement and need to switch hands to continue the movement to the other side.
Instead of moving only their limbs, the children could be compensating by moving the whole upper body, that is, the torso or trunk while trying to reach the opposite side.
Inability to cross midline also affects how a child reads and writes. They may have difficulty with tracking eye movement from left to right and moving the hand to write from left to right.
HOW TO DO IT RIGHT?
Before starting any “crossing the midline activity”, it’s best to Master bilateral coordination first. This means activities that involve moving both sides of the body symmetrically. For example, touching both hands to toes, pushing or pulling with both hands, marching left-right to music, jumping jacks, hopscotch, jumping activities, etc. As coordination develops, activities that require a dominant hand and a helping hand can also be introduced like holding a paper with the non-dominant hand and cutting the paper with the primary hand.
A FEW FUN CROSSING THE MIDLINE ACTIVITIES FOR CHILDREN
•Wiping the table
•Washing the car
•Infinity or 8-walk
•Watering the garden with both hands on the water hose
•Bean bag toss