Q: How did your love of teaching movement to children begin?

A: From the age of 20 I was already teaching young children what we called recreational gymnastics, which is basically artistic gymnastics taught at a level that is achievable for children of all abilities and ages. I was lucky enough to work with a great friend and mentor who taught me so much about how to teach children effectively. Learning from someone who was already an excellent and very experienced teacher gave me a very thorough and rich grounding. I will be forever grateful for all that I learned at the very start of my teaching journey.

Having been a gymnast for several years on a competitive level, I was already very passionate about the sport and eager to teach it to others. I taught both recreational and competitive gymnastics for many years and loved it all. I learned how to teach skills from scratch by teaching the very basic movements and building on those until eventually the end skill was achieved. I learned that quality teaching makes a huge difference to a child’s progress, as does the repetition of basic and more complicated skills.

Back then I certainly did not know just how valuable it was to develop children’s coordination at a young age. Through watching, learning and experiencing, I learned how to teach the basic fundamental movement skills in a creative and fun way to young children. That is where my love of working with the children began – especially younger children.

I have taught children who were uncoordinated and clumsy and seen them improve and thrive; children who were scared of heights overcame their fears; children who were shy and with low self confidence become determined, confident achievers. Dealing with all kinds of  personalities and various types of fear takes patience and compassion. If one takes the time to learn how to reach a child, to teach them at a pace they can manage, and in a way that enables them to give of their best, well, that is the most satisfying feeling ever.

I am grateful for all that I have learned over the last 30 years. It has enabled me to continually make a difference to the physical development of so many children both in Zimbabwe and in Finland, where I now live. My energy and passion for teaching has not dimmed. I am more determined than ever to continue inspiring children to be coordinated and active and, of course, to love every minute while doing so.

Darlene Koskinen

P.S.: I have distilled the best of my activities for teaching the fundamental movement skills into an online video resource at moovkids.com. More ideas here: MoovKids facebook.