Kahlon Family Services > Uncategorized > Interview with Leah Kalish

Interview with Leah Kalish


This week on the Spectrum, we were lucky enough to interview Leah Kalish, from Move With Me Action Adventures. Enjoy!
We love your work Leah! Tell our readers a bit about what you do.
At Move with Me Action Adventures, we are a small group of educators offering a unique integration of story + exercise + self-regulation that engages the whole child, helps prevent obesity, and improves focus, fitness, learning readiness, and social-emotional skills.
Our mission is to support children in being physically fit, emotionally stable, and learning able by delivering affordable, and easy-to-implement, instructional active play and embodied social-emotional learning resources to teachers, care-providers, and parents.  Our movement story video programs, accompanying health / self-regulation flash cards, and comprehensive curriculum are developed with children and can be used at home, in classrooms, and in childcare settings. .
We sell to First 5’s and other early childhood organizations, Head Starts, preschools, early elementary classrooms, childcare and daycare centers, parents, and libraries as well as lead in-person and online trainings.
In 2013, Move with Me™ was chosen by Partnership for a Healthier America as 1 of the top 10 best ideas for ending childhood obesity (see 2 min. video!).  Our  “Adventure Skills” regularly appear in LA Times Feature about self-regulation for kids .  This year, Foundation – End Obesity Now, is ready to fund an implementation project.

How have you seen movement and mindfulness enrich the lives of preschoolers?
Movement and mindfulness activities offer a playground which develops the body-mind awareness, coordination, and control that lays the foundation for self-regulation and learning.  Physical skills, which movement & self-regulation are, empower kids because they pave the way for cognitive and emotional-emotional skills.  Usually, when I walk in,  I see kids light up.  They know that they will have fun exploring what their bodies can do and discovering what their minds and inner resources can offer.  When they experiment with the yoga, movement, and simple tools I share, and feel better, find focus, re-direct impulses, and even calm and soothe themselves, they gain a whole new level of confidence in every area of their lives.  I know enrichment is occurring when a parent tells me that their child told them to “breathe and use finesse”, or when a teacher reports that their class showed the principal how to “avoid a meltdown”.
Why did you decide to develop your business, ‘Move with Me’? What got the ball rolling? 
After being Program Director for Yoga Ed., an organization that brought the yoga-based PE and classroom wellness programs I developed to schools, from 2000 – 2009, I was inspired to return to early childhood for two reasons.
One –  I wanted to do something about young children not getting the physical activity and self-regulation instruction they need for optimal weight and development.  Two – I was asked by a former trainee to help develop her wonderful movement story classes that taught yoga and Brain Gym® based health & self-care techniques into a curriculum.  I saw that by producing engaging and empowering video classes and accompanying educational materials, we could give parents and teachers expertly taught resources they could easily and affordably implement to provide much needed PE and SEL enrichment.
Since then, our Scooter & Me Movement & Mindfulness Bundle has won four awards, evolved into a 30-week curriculum, and earned the support of the Foundation – End Obesity Now.

Preschoolers are hilarious! Tell us about a funny story that has happened while working with preschoolers.
One of the first lessons I teach preschoolers is to sit tall, breathe fully, and move into their “Rainbow Body”.  This inspires good posture and vibrational coherence.  We sing a lively song about the powers of our colors –strong, happy, confident, caring, honest, smart, and understanding.  And then, like blowing a kiss, or sending an email, we can choose to send our rainbow.  We experimented with each other and discovered that if we focus our rainbow energy toward someone else, they will feel an uplifting warmth, tingle, or peacefulness.  So, we send rainbows in class when someone is crabby, or sad, or not feeling well. We also send rainbows to people we love and care about who may be far away.
One day, the school administrator interrupted our class saying that Callie’s mother was on the phone and just felt she needed to check in.  Callie, hearing this, jumped up and said: I was sending her a rainbow!  Sometimes, when I miss her, I send her a rainbow.  That’s one powerful preschooler J
What advice would you give to teachers and parents interested in incorporating more movement and mindfulness into their children’s lives? 
Remember that developmentally, preschoolers are designed to discover who they are and to master skills through play.  So make a “special time” to play full-on with your child(ren) every day – let them choose what!  And share all the everyday activities you can with them – making the grocery list, scheduling the doctor’s appointment, washing the dishes, making the bed, cooking, etc.
Also, prioritize your own health and well-being over your TO DO List.  If you want them to become healthy and self-regulating, you must model exercising, eating well, and behaving well.  Take time through-out the day to consciously self-regulate and at home, share what you are doing with your little ones and teach them specific techniques to help them when they are emotional, frustrated, etc.
            If your child is challenged, or tired, or disappointed, invite him/her to slow down and be curious with it rather than resistant – feel where is it in the body, what color or texture it is.  Ask what s/he might do allow and shift, or offer a tool that you use.  Schedule time for self-care so that your child gets to regularly rest, reset, recharge and feel ready and able for the next activity.
            After you’ve had a tough day, rather than being withdrawn, phony, or irritable, you could explain that you are stressed and crabby from something that happened at work so, before you play, or make dinner, or whatever,  that you need to practice some breathing or stretching, or take a walk around the block, or have 20 minutes to meditate – so that you then can be fully present.

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