Many children are living with chronic stress. Over time this stress damages the brain and makes it very difficult for children to learn.
The Effects of Stress on The Brain: Sympathetic nervous system activates “flight or fight” response; Body increases heart rate; Adrenal gland releases Cortisol (see below); and Blood glucose is directed from the brain to muscles. This state makes it very hard for students to pay attention, to avoid distractions and to regulate their emotions.
Too Much Cortisol Can: Cause brain neurons to shrink; Have a negative effect on memory; and Trigger the “fight or flight” response diverting blood glucose from the brain to muscles.
The Good News … “Exercise turns out to be the closest thing to a wonder drug that self-control scientist have discovered. Physical exercise makes your brain bigger and faster, and the pre-frontal cortex shows the largest training effect.” - Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D
Activity and Exercise IMPROVES BRAIN FUNCTION! Exercise promotes better blood flow around the body. Physical activity encourages growth and adaptation in the brain (particularly around memory). Exercise raises the levels of dopamine and brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF), two neurotransmitters responsible for growth and learning. By heightening the senses, improving mood and focus, and relieving tension, EXERCISE CREATES AN IDEAL ENVIRONMENT FOR A CHILD TO LEARN! At that same time, exercise improves the building of new cells which directly accelerates learning in itself!*
The introduction of Life Skills from a positive role model builds a foundation for character development.
More of America’s youth play soccer than any other sport and there is good reason why soccer is the World’s Most Popular Game. It is a high-energy, active sport that requires great eye-foot coordination, agility, balance, strength, motor skills, focus and endurance. It is simple enough to be taught to preschoolers while being challenging enough to make a career striving to improve one’s game. Soccer helps develop the foundational skills that are required by the other major sports. Starting at a young age, children have a head start in athletics. Kids who play sports receive better grades, are less likely to use drugs and have higher self-esteem than those who dont. Their involvement in youth soccer gives kids good habits and advanced technical skills for when they are ready to start competitive play at an older age. Finally, soccer (as well as other sports) provides a great environment to deal with adversity and develop character and virtue.
Due to the simplicity of the sport and the motor skills developed, soccer is the ideal introductory sport and best sport for preschoolers. The skills acquired through soccer are transferable to the other major sports! The latest research and science tells us that kids learn through FUN(information associated with strong emotions is more memorable — learning that is enjoyable stays with us longer), DOING (hands-on experiences affect our memories, emotions and the physical 'wiring' of our brain), OBSERVING, and REPETITION (multiple experiences with a given phenomena build neural pathways). Mighty Kicks utilizes the best research to provide an age-appropriate, high-energy Curriculum that is engaging and fun for the children. This proven Curriculum, presented within the framework of the World's Greatest Game, maximizes each child's development!
“Little Kicks offers a wonderful soccer experience for preschool children. Their exercises help build skills in creative and fun ways. The instructors are patient, kind and effective leaders of the group who obviously understand how to work with children. We offer several extra-curricular programs at our school and I can easily say that Little Kicks is among the best I have seen.” Elizabeth B., Child Care Center Owner
“I want to tell you that we really like the Program! My wife and I noticed a huge leap in our son Ashton’s abilities last fall while he was doing Little Kicks. He even remembered the games you played and gave me ideas for drills for our team’s practices.” – Myron, Parent
“The Program was great again! Please tell the coaches that we appreciate the quality of their instructions and the positive role modeling that they provide for the children. It really makes a difference in children’s lives.” Anita, Center Director
"Socialization is the single greatest developmental benefit to be gained from a good preschool experience.” - Carleton Kendrick, Ed., M.
“Children learn by doing. In order to raise confident, inquisitive kids, we must allow them to try new things and make their own mistakes. Their involvement in athletics is proven to result in higher self-esteem." - Kelly B. Cartwright, Ph.D.
*Book: "The Exercise Cure" by Jordan D. Metzl, MD
1. Movement and Motor Skills – agility, balance, coordination; Running (sideways, backwards, shuffle)
2. Dribbling – both feet; different parts of foot at different speeds.
3. Trapping – bringing ball to a stop.
4. Sole Rolling – rolling ball in different directions with the bottom of foot (“Crazy Leg”).
5. Taps – alternating feet on top of ball (“Soccer Dance”).
6. Foundation – small passes of ball between feet (“Penguin Walk”)
7. Juggling – bring ball to different parts of the body (“Soccer March”)
8. Shooting and passing the ball with both feet.
9. Teamwork and good sportsmanship.
10. The fundamental rules of the game
The Life Skills that are taught add to our thorough Little Kicks Curriculum. The experienced and energetic instructors use our proven curriculum to teach basic soccer techniques as well as coordination, confidence and character.
Sports provide a great environment for kids to develop character. However, character is not learned unless it is taught. The Little Kicks Curriculum introduces these positive virtues that sports can encourage. Our quality instructors (who are solid role-models) build a foundation for these important Life Skills that are proven to help children succeed on the field, in the classroom and in life.
1. Have Confidence: Believe in your abilities. YOU CAN DO IT! You can do it well.
2. Respect Others: Do to them what you would like them to do to you (GOLDEN RULE). Admire – polite –considerate-appreciate. Polite behavior towards someone you admire (authority). Students show respect to their teacher by not talking when she talks.
3. Positive Attitude: Smile and be happy, even when you don’t get your way. Your feelings about something.
4. Share: Let your friends and teammates use your stuff. Allow someone to use something you own.
5. Play Fair: following the rules. Honest behavior. Not cheating.
6. Be Kind: Attractive, enjoyable, caring, pleasant, friendly, nice. Showing you care about other people. (GOLDEN RULE)
7. Listen: Follow the instructions of your parents, teachers and coaches. Don’t make them have to tell you twice. Pay attention. Hear and responds to commands. Listen carefully to the instructions.
8. Be Honest: Always tell the truth. Truthful way of behaving, speaking and thinking. Not lying.
9. Try Hard: Work until the work is done. Attempt to do it with all your effort. Attempt things that are difficult. An effort to do something.
10. Have Fun: Smile, be happy and enjoy what you are doing. Enjoyable activity. Be someone that others want to be around.
11. Be Brave: Don’t be paralyzed by fear (overcome fear and act amidst danger). Choose to make an effort even though there is risk.
12. Work Together: Help each other to the goal. Celebrate in your teammate’s victory. Cooperate. Cooperation makes the group stronger.