RAMSR is a program for all early year’s teachers and educators to have confidence, skills and resources to use evidence-based rhythm and movement activities for self-regulation support for children.
RAMSR stands for Rhythm and Movement for Self-Regulation, and is a program developed by Dr Kate Williams from the Queensland University of Technology. As part of the program, together we all learnt to lead 15-20 minute fun group sessions with children that practice coordinated movement, rhythm, and some great brain tricks.
Under the School Readiness Funding scheme, we were able to organise this collaborative training day during our recent work break for all the Kinder team and some teachers in the Primary School. Kate flew from Queensland for the day and ably led our training, beautifully balanced with serious research-based evidence, together with hilarity that comes from adults participating in hands-on physical learning together! Teachers and co-educators spent the day not only learning the program but understanding some of the underlying goals, benefits, and purpose of the program.
The main aim of the program is to support children’s self-regulation development in a fun and engaging way. In RAMSR sessions it looks like teachers and children just having a whole lot of dancing and tapping fun – but there are some very tricky brain-building activities happening! Early research has shown RAMSR is helpful for children’s development.
What is self-regulation and why is it so important?
Self-regulation refers to the ways that we control our own thinking, behaviour, and emotions. These skills are important for children to develop as they will help them to make friends, feel good, and will make learning much easier. In fact, self-regulation is the main skill that school teachers really value when children start school. During a RAMSR session we practice lots of activities that will help the brain develop skills like paying attention, using our memory, controlling our impulses, and thinking in flexible ways. We also practice becoming calm which can help us manage our emotions.
Why is rhythm & movement a good way to do this?
RAMSR uses rhythmic movement activities and games specifically designed to practice self-regulation and build the brain connections that will help with these skills. The use of music, rhythm and movement not just because it is really fun but also because:
The aim of this program is not to improve children’s musical abilities (though you may see some incidental improvements in musical ability) but rather, improve children’s executive functioning (working memory, inhibition, switching and attention) and self-regulatory abilities.
Learning together means that we are all on the same page as we introduce this program to the children. Children experience consistency, and all team members can jump in to lead a session. As a team, we are always on the lookout for new research and methods to use that are evidenced as furthering children’s development. When we look at the description of Adventurous Methodologies in Transformational Education - A framework for Christian teaching, we are learning and implementing a wide range of methods with which to explore and appreciate God’s world and word. In training together using RAMSR, I was once again in awe of God’s plan for children and development, that such a sequence of activities, when practised over time using play and fun, help children progress in their learning. Our God is a God of order, and we are indeed wonderfully made! (Psalm 139).