Direction of Approach: The SKILLZ Difference
A SKILLZ Child Development Center uses certain aspects of martial arts training as a tool or vehicle for helping kids spur physical, intellectual, emotional, and social development. That means a SKILLZ school is a martial arts school….right?
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SKILLZ is a fairly new concept in child development and education. Because it is so new, not many people know exactly what a SKILLZ child development center is, what it isn’t, and how it differs from other activities, such as a traditional martial arts program, dance, or gymnastics.
In fact, whenever the conversation turns to what we do and how, leaders from other activities will often chime in, “But we do that, too!” And, in many cases, they are correct.
A student in a good traditional martial arts program, one which balances the martial arts and the kids’ age-specific needs, will most certainly receive benefits in all areas of their development. In fact, when it comes to activities for kids, we believe martial arts is one of the best things you could pick!
A dancer or gymnast will also develop physical skills such as balance and strength, intellectual skills such as spatial awareness, emotional skills such as resiliency, and even social skills such as teamwork.
But here’s the thing:
A child is predisposed to making developmental strides in all of these areas; they only await the proper opportunities. Any activity during which a child interacts with the environment or their peers will help them learn and grow.
So, what is it that makes a SKILLZ Child Development Center so different?
The difference lies in our direction of approach.
A martial arts school teaches martial arts; the benefits of martial arts include developing many of the characteristics parents hope to see in their kids. But their primary purpose is to teach martial arts. And that is a GOOD thing!
A dance school, gymnastics school, or similar will also have opportunities for the kids to achieve. But, again, their primary purpose is to teach dance or gymnastics. Both of these are wonderful activities for kids to learn to express themselves.
In a SKILLZ school, we teach the student, not the lesson. Sounds strange, right?
We believe that our primary purpose and our driving core value is to help the kids exceed developmental norms through lessons and activities specifically designed to enhance physical well-being, cognitive ability, emotional intelligence, and the ability to function as an integral part of a social unit.
Anything else we do is of secondary or even tertiary importance. If changing the lesson will benefit the child, then we figure out a better way to teach the child instead of forcing the lesson.
This starts from the very first interaction during the placement evaluation.
We begin by leading each child through a series of developmentally appropriate activities to assess each child’s strengths and challenges. We then objectively score their performance to create an individualized training program.
Now, if we asked the kids to demonstrate a Trendelenburg Test so we could assess the tonicity of the Gluteus Medius and Minimus because we noticed some abnormalities in their gait, they would look at us, confused, just long enough to remember that “gluteus” means “butt.”
But, if we found a tool that appealed to the kids, challenged them using the theories of motivation that best apply to their age and intellectual development, and then led them through an activity that was fun and understandable, they will be more likely to participate.
So, we use an activity such as standing on one leg and throwing front kicks. It is fun, understandable, gives tactile feedback as they hit pads, and provides us a way to measure and set goals by encouraging ever-increasing numbers of repetitions.
We don’t necessarily care about the front kicks, whether they are technically perfect or even if they are effective in self-defense.
We don’t teach martial arts.
We care about the vestibular development, the kids’ sense of proprioception, how much sensory input they crave/can handle, how many steps of a command they can comprehend, how they act when they fail or succeed, how well they can use their language to express themselves, and how they interact with the children around them.
What we’re teaching them is how to be strong, how to process and store information, how to label and control their emotions, how to step into leadership roles. The fact that also learning some martial arts is simply a bonus.
While a traditional martial arts program, a dance school, a soccer team, and a SKILLZ class may all come together at one point to aid a child’s development, it is only the SKILLZ child Development Center that approaches from the direction of whole-child development instead of focusing first on the chosen activity.
On a similar note, while most SKILLZ programs use martial arts as the main tool, the program is also run with other activities as the vehicle. There are schools using parkour, gymnastics, woodsmanship, and even classroom-based activities such as entrepreneurship programs.
However, no matter the tool, the lesson is always approached from the standpoint of providing each child with an unfair developmental advantage that they can carry with them to any other activity that life may offer them.
To learn more about the powerful SKILLZ child development program that uses elements of martial arts training as the vehicle for growth, or to get your child started at our Patchogue location, click the button below:
SKILLZ OF PATCHOGUE
380 East Main St
Patchogue, NY 11772
Author: Michael A Evans
Michael is a 6th-degree black sash under his teacher, Moises Arocho, and has been training in martial arts since 1985. Michael has a degree in Massage Therapy from NY College of Health Professions. He is the co-owner of 4GK Martial Arts in Patchogue, NY, and Skillz of Patchogue, a childhood development facility using martial arts and other movement modalities as the vehicle for kids’ growth and success. Michael is also the Lead Consultant for Skillz Worldwide