Since the summer of 1992, the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education at Northern Illinois University has offered the Developmental Motor Development Research Program (MDRP) to young children of the DeKalb community. The program offers the children an opportunity to develop motor abilities, acquire motor skills, and experience the joy of physical activity. It also provides a resident group of young children for research in motor development and learning, and serves as a laboratory experience for students enrolled in teacher preparation and early childhood programs.
Children participating in this program will be developmentally instructed in activities designed to accomplish the following objectives: 1) learn to move the body efficiently in a variety of ways; 2) become proficient in the fundamental motor skills that underlie sports and games of our culture, e.g., throwing, catching, running, jumping, etc.; 3) develop health-related components of fitness such as cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, flexibility, and body composition; 4) develop a body image that includes knowledge of names, location, functions, relationships, and movement of body parts; 5) experience a variety of movement concepts such as different dimensions of space, effort, and relationships; 6) develop an understanding of health concepts such as nutrition and physical activity for a better lifestyle; and 7) develop positive self-esteem and self-concept through movement experiences.
The structure of the brain is determined by movement experiences. Neurologist Harry Chugann (1996) demonstrated that movement experiences have a strong impact on the intricate circuits of the neurons (size and complexity).
The program is directed by Dr. Clersida Garcia, associate professor of physical education. Dr. Garcia is assisted by several graduate teaching assistants with expertise in the area of elementary physical education and motor development.
Clersida Garcia, Ph.D., Director
Northern Illinois University
Anderson Hall 232
DeKalb, IL 60115-2854