“Everything We Learned In Kindegarden”

Parisi Pee Wee coaches need to become familiar with the basic developmental milestones for kids ages 4 to 7 years old.  A milestone is a set of benchmarks that consist of skills and abilities that children reach by a certain age. Milestones are used by the clinical and medical community to help evaluate a child’s development.  Although each milestone corresponds with an age or grade level, many children develop at a different pace.  One important responsibility of a Parisi Speed and Sports Performance Coach is to assess a child’s athletic abilities and movement mechanics.  The Parisi evaluation is used for children 7 years or older and has proven to be a reliable tool to give a snapshot of a youth athlete’s movement literacy, including strengths and weaknesses.  However, a Parisi evaluation is not performed with children under 7 years old.  As your facility onboards children between 4 to 7 years old, coaches and the supporting staff may need to inform a parent that their child is not ready for the Parisi Pee Wee class.  This can be due to developmental, emotional or social abilities.  Some facilities may choose to offer two age groups.  If this is the case, a group of peewees can be divided into 4 and 5 year olds, and 6 and 7 year olds.  

It is not a Parisi Pee Wee coach’s responsibility to evaluate whether a child is hitting developmental milestones.  However, they must learn the various milestones in order to set their own expectations and ultimately design age appropriate classes.  Understanding basic brain development will also impact how you design your program. For example, new school-age children kindergarten and 1st grade children) begin to think about and understand different viewpoints other than their own when they start attending school.  They understand that there is a real world outside of their home.  This occurs when children transition to school since there is a fairly uniform set of rules and code of conduct.  Aside from a 4-7 year old child’s eyes opening up to more of the world around them, children this age also shift their brain function from a purely playful existence to one that blends academic exercises with play.  The concept of studentship begins to be taught to children this age, as their teachers are also teaching them how to become a good student. Parisi Pee Wee classes also acknowledge this in their program design and teaching strategies. 

Brain functions that improve:

  • Concentration – A child’s ability to focus on a task or topic. They should also begin to develop methods of ignoring distractions when they have a task to focus on.
  • Memory –  A child’s long- and short-term memory skills begin to grow.  Not only will they recall experiences, they will be able to remember rules and even how games are played. 
  • Attention span – School-age children should be able to focus on important tasks for longer periods.

Once children enter kindergarten, they are learning critical life skills.  In fact, you might find that you prefer to start your Parisi Pee Wee program at 5 years old for this very reason.  Robert Fulghum‘s best-selling book, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten truly sums up the skills a Parisi Pee Wee class will reinforce. Although this book was written over 30 years ago, it identifies key values and boundaries, along with a code of conduct that helps children in all areas of their life.  Here are some of Fulgham’s lessons that you will reiterate in your classes.

  • Share
  • Play fair.
  • Don’t hit people.
  • Put things back where you found them.
  • Clean up after yourself.
  • Don’t take things that are not yours..
  • Say sorry when you hurt someone.
  • Wash your hands before you eat.

There are so many things the Parisi Pee Wee and even Jump Start classes teach.  It is common that parents will look at Parisi classes as simply a way for their child to get exercise.  If adding more exercise to their child’s life motivates them to call your facility, great!  The Parisi network hopes to exceed a parent’s expectations, as many just think our classes are conditioning sessions.  Pee Wee classes are not open gym fitness classes.   All Parisi classes are purposeful.  Parisi Pee Wee classes are designed to improve gross motor skills, coordination and athleticism.  Our program design must account for several facts about children 4 to 7 years old.  Parisi coaches should understand that 4 to 7 year old children:

  • test social boundaries.
  • are just learning how to reason.
  • are just learning how to socialize.
  • are just learning how to focus.
  • are just learning to take turns.
  • are just learning their right, from left side.
  • are simply learning how to follow directions in a class setting.

There are many aspects of a child’s general maturity that will impact their success in a Parisi Pee Wee class.  If you have ever been around small children you quickly notice that even their verbal skills vary from child to child.  Parisi Pee Wee classes will have a positive impact on a child’s verbal skills because it will offer them another didactic experience where they are communicating with an adult and other children.  Parisi Pee Wee classes are filled with listening to instructions, participating in conversations and receiving feedback.  This in itself can enhance a child’s confidence.