“The child needs to learn how to move before moving to learn.”
General Movement Thinking refers to activities that involve large muscles, while Discriminative Movement Thinking refers to activities that involve small muscles. Movement and thinking are mutually dependent. Goal-oriented bodily actions involve thinking – How? When? What direction or sequence? How long? – that can be mentally taxing when novel and unfamiliar. Whereas mastery of bodily awareness, control, and movements free that mental space for more demanding tasks, such as skipping (General Movement) or drawing (Discriminative Movement). Otherwise, attention will be divided between what you’re doing and how you’re doing it, and the movements will be slow, cautious, and calculated. The thinking games involved with General Movement and Discriminative Movement allow your child to further generalize and apply this experiential awareness to more sophisticated movements with ease, such as jumping rope (General Movement) or writing the alphabet (Discriminative Movement).
Children who are struggling with control over gross or fine motor skills will have difficulties focusing and engaging in tasks that require more abstract levels of thinking. Imagine the intricate process of having to move your eyes across a page to read, or looking up and down from the teacher to the paper on the desk to write, or actively playing a game in team sports with peers. Awareness and intellectual knowledge of one’s bodily movements and capabilities generated through these thinking games will enhance your child’s belief and confidence to successfully tackle more advanced spatially-coordinated actions, such as kicking a ball into the goal (General Movement) or tying shoelaces (Discriminative Movement).