Mini MAAC Curriculum
The CDC states, “Although the brain continues to develop and change into adulthood, the first 8 years can build a foundation for future learning, health and life success.” The MAAC believes that children’s brains are fragile, ever changing and growing, and deserve the utmost care and attention during these crucial years.
Body, mind and spirit has long been a mantra in martial arts. The MAAC wishes to expand this concept by creating a unique program for our earliest learners to aid in healthy brain growth, development of a love of physical activity and instill an indomitable spirit.
The job of a child is to play, this is how they learn. Our job is to make learning fun and accessible to our students. Teaching students the basics of the alphabet, numbers, shapes, and colors is but a small part of what they will learn at the Mini MAAC. Concepts of sharing, teamwork, and compromise are all learned through interaction with others. Through group play, athletics, martial arts and yoga, our students learn these concepts organically.
Toys such as legos, building blocks and small manipulatives are not only fun, but they help build fine motor skills. Outside time playing the “alphabet game” (finding items starting with the letter “a” and working through the alphabet) is not only fun, but gets the kids fresh air and exercise, brings them in touch with their surroundings, and fosters a sense of adventure.
Life-long healthy habits of an active life-style and healthy eating are learned beginning at a young age at Mini MAAC.
The MAAC has long been known for our devotion to teaching kids martial arts. While learning Tae Kwon do, students learn discipline, respect, self-control, and build self-esteem, all while being physically active. By starting children at the earliest age, they will develop a love of the sport and have a greater chance of remaining physically active through belt testing and ranking up in the sport for years to come as Tae Kwon do and martial arts in general is viewed as a “lifetime sport.”
By adding the component of yoga, the physical will meet the mental as children are taught to concentrate on the here and now. Yoga enhances motor skills and balance, helping children reach developmental milestones for these age groups. Studies show that yoga in the classroom setting improves students’ listening skills, eases anxiety and stress and enhances their focus, concentration, and memory.
Nutrition is a key component in the healthy development of children. Mini MAAC believes in teaching kids healthy choices regarding food and helping parents understand the building blocks of nutrition for their youngsters. By not allowing certain items such as sodas and candy as lunch and snack items, Mini MAAC is sending a message that healthier options are a necessity.
When Mini MAAC speaks of spirit, it is not in terms of a religion or a spiritual aspect. It is in regard to “those qualities regarded as forming the definitive or typical elements in the character of a person.” When children are born, they are born full of awe and wonder. It is their environment that either fosters or squelches that spirit. Many child care environments today do not promote a strong sense of self worth or a bright future. We believe that by engaging children in the program unique to the Mini MAAC, we can affect change in the students’ core beliefs about themselves and the world around them.
Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to change itself constantly by creating new neural pathways and losing those which are no longer used. For example, it is much easier for children to learn a second language the younger they start. The Mini MAAC endeavors to apply this concept to teaching children to have courage to try new things, strength to accomplish them and resilience in the face of adversity. If children start learning these abilities during their earliest educational years, the neural pathways will be set once they get into elementary school and beyond.
What is an indomitable spirit? Indomitable is an adjective meaning impossible to subdue or defeat, while spirit is defined as the nonphysical part of a person which is the seat of emotions and character, the soul. Think about that. Think about a child whose core being conveys an indomitable spirit. This child sees failure as a stepping stone, not the end of the journey; sees an obstacle as a challenge to be overcome, not a roadblock. This is a three year old who falls, gets ups and tries again. A four year old who makes a mistake, but does not through a fit because he has learned self control. A 5 year old starting school equipped with self esteem, the ability to share and over adversity. This is the goal of Mini MAAC.