Anna Runstal Zahn is a Sweden-based expert in children’s activity and engagement. The once professional dancer has loved teaching dance-based classes for children and teens for thirty years, saying it’s their energy, enthusiasm and sparkly eyes that are so rewarding.
As Program Director for Les Mills’ programs for young children, Anna shapes the development of the classes, ensuring that every four months BORN TO MOVE™ program teachers around the globe are provided with fresh class content for youngsters. Here she explains what makes BORN TO MOVE™ so special…
What is BORN TO MOVE™
“BORN TO MOVE™ is a mix of music, movement, stories and fun. It’ especially for children and it’s designed to help them develop body awareness. Many believe that classes for kids are simply silly games and activities but with BORN TO MOVE™ that’s certainly not the case. With every activity in every class there’s a real sense of purpose. Activities warm up the body and engage children physically, while helping them reach inside and recognize their own feelings. The goal is to ignite a lifelong love of physical activity.”
“There is a process that all children follow. Discover – Follow – Learn – Feel – and then they add in their own imagination. It’s only when this all comes into place that enjoyment kicks in. BORN TO MOVE™ classes leverage this process and are structured to make the most of children’s concentration and engagement levels. For example, in the beginning the focus is on physical activity, we engage their imagination and in the middle of the class we add variety by changing the set-up of the room. Throughout the class there are emotional triggers and all sorts of music. I really believe that music buoys the soul.”
Repetition and engagement
“The balance between variety and repetition is key. Repetition is critical to learning. It’s not just something that adults think children need, it’s something that children consistently prove they want – it’s why every night children want to read the same book, they love it and they never get bored because they keep seeing new things in the book. BORN TO MOVE™ classes enable children to repeatedly do the activities they love and, with teachers injecting fresh ideas and fun, they never get bored. The teachers who work with children are consistently watchful and one step ahead. As soon as they see a child’s attention flicker they talk to them, ask them for their ideas and engage them before they disengage. I call it blowing out the matches before the fire.”
Motivating children for the right reasons
“Having worked with children for decades I know that there is no point forcing a child to be active for the sake of being active, chances are they won’t enjoy it and if they don’t enjoy it they won’t stick with it. We should encourage them to get moving simply because we want them to feel good and have fun.
We need to let youngsters have fun being youngsters – and help them become comfortable in themselves. It’s not only good for their heart health, coordination and balance, it helps them connect with their body from the inside out – helping them become aware of how their body is working.”
For more ideas about how you can fuel your child’s love of physical activity follow BORN TO MOVE™ on Facebook.
To find a BORN TO MOVE™ class near you click here.