Move, Play, and Learn with Smart Steps: Sequenced Activities to Build the Body and the Brain (Birth to Age 7) (Free Spirit Professional™) (Paperback)

Move, Play, and Learn with Smart Steps: Sequenced Activities to Build the Body and the Brain (Birth to Age 7) (Free Spirit Professional™) By Gill Connell, Cheryl McCarthy, Wendy Pirie, M.H.Sc. Cover Image

Move, Play, and Learn with Smart Steps: Sequenced Activities to Build the Body and the Brain (Birth to Age 7) (Free Spirit Professional™) (Paperback)


Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Build the body-brain connection with step-by-step activities that help children develop physical, cognitive, social, and emotional foundations for early learning and school readiness. Early childhood educators will find clear information on creating the move-to learn environment, managing safety, and optimizing the connections between language development, movement, and readiness for formal learning. An observational tool lets teachers pinpoint children’s specific developmental stages and assess progress. The easy-to-follow, full-color format includes diagrams and photos along with teaching tips to advance and automate children’s foundational physical capabilities while providing incremental challenge. Grounded in best practices and current research, Move, Play, and Learn with Smart Steps is both a hands-on resource for any classroom teacher, care provider, or parent and an ideal tool for coaches, mentors, and professional development trainers. Digital content includes customizable forms from the book.
Gill Connell is a globally recognized presenter and child development authority, specializing in the foundations of learning through movement and play. She provides developmental expertise to parents, preschools, schools, and companies such as Hasbro, Inc., based on her more than thirty years in preschool and primary education. She is the former national director of Gymbaroo Preschool Activity Centers and the founder of Moving Smart, Ltd. (, which offers resources, tools, trainings, and workshops. She coauthored the books A Moving Child Is a Learning Child: How the Body Teaches the Brain to Think and Moving to Learn: An Essential Guide for All Parents, Carers and Educators. Gill lives in New Zealand, and travels regularly to the United States.
Wendy Pirie, M.H.Sc., is a consultant in preschool movement and the director of TimberNook New Zealand, which offers camps where children grow and learn through active, creative outdoor experiences. She has a special interest in the growth and development of the child through the relationship between the body and the brain. She is also passionate about empowering parents and educators to play with and engage children. Wendy lives in New Zealand with her husband and three sons.
Cheryl McCarthy is a former vice president of intellectual property development for Hasbro, Inc. She is a thirty-year veteran of the world of children’s play, specializing in young children’s storytelling and entertainment. As executive producer, she managed the creative development of properties such as My Little Pony, Candy Land, Mr. Potato Head, and many other beloved children’s icons. She is currently the creative director at Moving Smart, Ltd. Cheryl is the coauthor of A Moving Child Is a Learning Child: How the Body Teaches the Brain to Think. She lives in Massachusetts.
Product Details ISBN: 9781631980244
ISBN-10: 1631980246
Publisher: Free Spirit Publishing
Publication Date: May 25th, 2016
Pages: 208
Language: English
Series: Free Spirit Professional™
“A gold mine! This well thought out and organized resource explains the stages of childhood motor development in concise language and clear graphics, making it accessible and understandable to parents and professionals alike. Smart Steps offers a multitude of activity ideas and includes fun and creative modifications for kids of all ages and abilities. I recommend this book to parents, teachers, and therapists who are looking for ways to enrich the motor skills of their kids.”
— Brenda Richards, OTR/L, pediatric occupational therapist, author, co-owner of The Center for LifeSkills, codirector of TimberNook of Greater Cleveland

“A must-have resource for all those engaged and involved in the lives of young children in whatever capacity. A uniquely refreshing combination of practical know-how and underpinning knowledge, bound by a profound belief and understanding of the role movement plays in supporting overall development. Easily accessible for parents—there are wonderful ideas for promoting active play—this book also provides professionals with a clear framework to inform and support their daily practice. Well-written and beautifully produced. A ‘smart step’ would be to source this book, now!”
— Dr. Lala Manners, director of activematters

“A wonderfully clear step-by-step activity series providing children with a ‘rich diet’ of movement and play. The very easy-to-understand-and-do series of everyday activities builds the critical body and brain interrelationship, essential for children’s optimal learning and transition into school. This outstanding book sets a new benchmark in children’s activity programs to develop their bodies and brains. It is the most scientifically advanced program currently available and a must for educators, childcare providers, and parents who want to provide the best possible start for their children!”
— Graham D. Dodd, Ph.D., Founder and Chair TriSkills Australia; Fellow & Life Member Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation

“A fabulous resource for teachers, parents, and anyone wanting to understand child development and really stimulate children’s learning. Combining a career-long interest in brain development research with practical applications, Gill Connell has developed this huge collection of background knowledge and useful teaching ideas. The diagrams, photos, and chapter and paragraph headings make the book exceptionally easy to read while separating out ideas so the reader is able to take small or large chunks of information to digest at a time. The temptation is to keep reading, page after page, because it all makes so much sense! This text should be compulsory reading in all early childhood teacher training courses but, because it is not bogged down with jargon, it is equally valuable to parents and other adults in the lives of young children who want to make the most of learning opportunities during a day and build positive, supportive relationships with their children.”
— Janet Channon, Co-founder and director of Kids Music Company

“Very accessible and loads of fun! Placing physicality at the heart of learning, all the principles of strong ECE practice are skillfully harnessed. Superb color images illustrate how movement can be joyfully integrated into daily life with everyday resources, enabling every child to ‘follow nature’s plan.’ The depth of knowledge regarding being physically active from birth, matched with a clear explanation of how learning takes place through body-brain development, gives this book a valuable place in the work of those caring about children and their education throughout the early years.”
— Jan White, early childhood consultant specializing in outdoor play and author of Every Child a Mover