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Building Confidence and Independence in Elementary Students: Canterbury School of Florida Introduces Motor Lab on Hough Campus




St. Petersburg, FL — Understanding child development and knowing that there are essential building blocks of development that need to occur in order to achieve academic learning and success, Canterbury School of Florida has introduced an addition to their curriculum of interactive programs.

Christine Fitch (Physical Education Instructor) and Melissa Fitzpatrick (Learning Center Specialist and OT) have implemented a motor lab for preschoolers through grade 1, utilizing the Ready Bodies Learning Minds curriculum by Athena Oden, P.T. Students are taught five primary exercises (primitive reflex stretches) during PE class in an effort to promote a strong foundation for posture, stability, and mobility.

“We are very excited to help our students build an essential and critical foundation of strength that will serve them in all areas of life. A strong core allows for more success in sports, in which coordination and balance are crucial”, said Christine Fitch. “It also serves them inside the classroom by strengthening their posture, handwriting, and their ability to pay attention for an extended period of time. Having a strong core is the foundation to all movement, and it is incredible that we are able to build that strong foundation here at Canterbury”.

As students learn and master these primary stretches, the class participates twice weekly in the motor lab. The motor lab is set up in a classroom and consists of up to five motor stations focusing on graded movement activities that address sensory-motor development, postural and ocular motor control, balance, upper body stability, fine motor dexterity and eye-hand coordination.

“With an increase of technology along with a history of various social changes, children are not getting the frequency and intensity of rich full-body play as they may have in the past”, said Melissa Fitzpatrick. “We want to give our students the opportunities to experience a variety of movement activities to help them become the best version of themselves.“

The Learning Pyramid, an illustration developed by Taylor and Trott, shows the foundational and layered skills that reach to the apex of the pyramid which is academic learning. It is this illustration that has sparked the idea of creating a curriculum that benefits all students in their journey of academic achievement. If there are some skills that haven’t developed fully in the foundational levels of the pyramid, we hope that by giving our students the movement experiences that they need, motor skills will improve along with attention, confidence, and skill acquisition not only in the motor lab, but in the classroom as well.

To learn more about Canterbury School of Florida’s Hough Campus programs and curriculum please visit,

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