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Motor Lab helps Faith Christian School students to develop and integrate their body systems
to be able to focus academically as well as perform better in sports.


What is Motor Lab?

Motor Lab is a program developed by Athena Oden, a Physical Therapist. The program is appropriately called Ready Bodies, Learning Minds, or Motor Lab, for short. The premise of the program is that in order for students to be able to learn and reach their full academic potential, they must first have their physical developmental needs met. Children today are very under-stimulated physically compared to past generations. The Motor Lab seeks to meet the system needs of each child. Parents and teachers often will encourage children to be active to “get their energy out,” and while, yes, children do have a LOT of energy, Motor Lab is more about helping children meet the needs that they are seeking through energetic behaviors. 

What systems are we talking about? Motor lab offers opportunities for children to further develop and integrate the following systems: visual, motor, tactile (system of touch), vestibular (provides our sense of movement and our understanding of gravity), auditory, and proprioceptive (receives information from the muscles, joints, ligaments, and tendons to know how our bodies occupy the space around us). All of these systems work together to help children integrate their life experiences in a way that makes them ready to learn and develop cognitively.

What are the distinct characteristics of Motor Lab?

A typical experience in Motor Lab is fun for the children! They walk into the gym and see all kinds of exciting equipment! There are 9-10 stations set up around the perimeter of the space. In every class, there are stations dedicated to each of the above-mentioned systems. There may be spinning boards for vestibular, a cocoon tube for tactile, walking can stilts for proprioceptive, etc. We also focus on developing core strength, balance, hand-eye coordination, and hand strengthening, which helps with writing skills.

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 Each week there are several familiar activities as well as one or two new ones so that students are always learning and being challenged. As students master the activity, progressions are added. For example, once they display a solid capability of mini-tramp jumping, then we add L and R hand signs, and students jump while playing patty cake across the midline, right hand to left, and left hand to right. Activities such as these help with brain integration of both left and right brain. 

Motor Lab is currently offered 1x per week to our JK-2nd grade students during their PE class. Third through fifth grades have motor lab components scattered throughout their PE lessons each quarter. We are hoping to expand our offerings to students in the future. 

What are its benefits / outcomes?

This program has been linked to better reading scores, better handwriting, and overall better attention in classroom settings as students become more aware of where their bodies are in space.  In addition, the work we do with balance, core strength, and hand-eye coordination directly helps students with their motor skill development and ability to perform sports outside of school. We love offering this program to our FCS students! 

- India Delp, PE Instructor at Faith Christian School

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