ITF Children’s Development Committee meeting
On 15th & 16th January 2013 the ITF Children’s Development Committee met in Amsterdam to discuss the future of the Kid’s Development Program. The three Committee members were Master Donato Nardizzi (England), Fabian Izquierdo (Argentina) and the latest member to join the Committee, Philip Lear (England). Master Willy Van Der Mortel (Netherlands) was also expected to attend but was unable to because of the poor road conditions due to the snow.
On the first day, the Committee met with three members of the ITF Board: The President GM Trajtenberg, GM Bos and Master Ferrando. They discussed the importance of the ITF Kid’s Development Program as a means to provide a broad based foundation for young children rather than rushing them through the grades. Today, more children are starting Taekwon-Do at an early age and we are seeing too many young children achieving Black Belt status too quickly by following the adult syllabus. Promotion to Black belt indicates a certain degree of maturity but the children may not have the same level wisdom and broad range of life experiences as an adult. It was agreed that the ITF has a responsibility to encourage instructors to utilise the Kid’s Development Program which provides the necessary broad range of knowledge and experience for their young students at a pace that is suitable for their age group.
It was proposed that elements of the Children’s Development course should be included in all the IIC’s after summer 2013. The proposal is to have a three hour seminar in every IIC about teaching strategies for young students. This would not only benefit instructors who teach young children but also those that teach older students with learning difficulties. Many teaching strategies will be taught which enable the instructor to simplify the various Taekwon-Do skills by breaking them down into simpler parts. It is important that senior instructors and masters understand the teaching methods of the Kid’s Development Program regardless of whether they teach it directly or not. They may indeed have students who will become instructors of the Kids Development Program.
With three Children’s Development courses taking place in 2012, ways of facilitating more courses in 2013 were discussed. The ITF will make it easier for National Associations to host a Children’s Development Course in their country and, if necessary, to translate the Study Book in their own language.
It was agreed to have a dedicated website for the Kids Program which will have its own domain name and have a link from the official ITF website. This will serve to promote the Kids Development Program as well as providing the students, parents and instructors with additional resources.
Ways of making an easy transition for instructors who are already running other children’s programmes were discussed. This is not too difficult as the ITF Kid’s Development Program was designed with flexibility in mind. The biggest problem was that of changing over doboks to the new approved ITF children’s dobok for students using a non ITF approved dobok. Master Ferrando offered to speak to the sponsors to try to agree a deal for students needing to change their doboks.
On the second meeting of the day, the Committee continued to discuss ways in which the transition can be made from other kid’s programmes to the ITF Kid’s Program. Many children’s programmes have similar topics but they are perhaps arranged in different categories or themes. By adapting the assignment criteria for each grade level or badge award the ITF Kid’s Program can appear to be very similar to what the students were doing before.
On the second day, the Committee started work on the new website, designing the structure and listing the menu items. They even managed to write out some of the static content for various pages. There will be a section for kids that will include interactive games, cartoon strips, stories and activities using the five characters of the Program. The idea is to provide extra resources for the kids to help them learn all the topics and at the same time bring the five characters to life. There will be a section for parents not only to promote the Program but also to help them support their children with the homework tasks and learning the various topics. An instructor’s section with a log in facility for official ITF Kid’s Program Instructors only, will provide them with a wealth of resources including a database of games and activities, additional homework assignments and advice on teaching strategies and requirements.
The meeting ended with plenty of work done but still plenty of work left to do by each member of the Committee. They will continue to work on the website and planning the forthcoming courses. Look out for the more information about the Kid’s Development Program coming soon on the ITF website.
Carrying the Olympic Flame for the ITF
Master Donato Nardizzi from England has been selected to carry the flame in the Olympic torch relay. He was nominated for the work he has done in developing the Taekwon-Do Kids Program and for teaching the Taekwon-Do, in particular the moral values, to children in the local community.
He will be carrying the torch on 23rd July in the Merton area in London. He hopes to have the streets lined up with many children wearing doboks to raise public attention about the Kids Program and the ITF.
Being selected as an Olympic Torchbearer has given Master Nardizzi a good opportunity to visit many schools in London to speak about his role as a Torchbearer. During the visits, Master Nardizzi raised awareness about Taekwon-Do and the benefits it has for young children. The schools were always pleased to hear the valuable moral education that Master Nardizzi imparted on the children.
Master Nardizzi also took part in the Martial Arts Show which took place in the NEC Birmingham on 12th - 13th May. His stall promoted the activities of the ITF, including the forthcoming World Cup 2012 and The ITF Kid’s Program.
Master Nardizzi performed a demonstration on both days. On the second day, after doing an autograph signing session, he performed on the main stage. He performed a 10 minute routine including shadow sparring, board breaking, pattern Moon-Moo, model sparring and defence against a knife attack. After the performance he had an interview in which he was able to mention all the Taekwon-Do projects he is involved with. He spoke about his role as ITF England president and how he got nominated to carry the Olympic Torch and then followed up speaking about the ITF Kid’s Program.
This year the ITF Taekwon-Do Kids Program kicks off with two courses taking place in the next two months. One in London, England on 9th & 10th June and one in Benidorm, Spain on 27th to 29th July. Master Nardizzi is confident that the Kids Program will be a success. He said “Many instructors struggle with teaching young children and even those that are good at entertaining a young class find it difficult to retain them when they move on to more structured activities as they progress beyond yellow belt. When instructors realise how easy it is to have an ideal environment in your kids class using the Taekwon-Do Kids Program, they will be sold on it. The beauty of the Taekwon-Do Kids Program is that it transforms children as young as 3 years into ideal students by the time they are 7 years regardless of their ability level. The program focuses on developing all the aspects of becoming an ideal student, including having the ability to listen and concentrate, having good knowledge of fundamental Taekwon-Do skills, being confident and believing in themselves, having good interpersonal skills, having good discipline and self-control, having a correct mind-set that allows proper moral development and, very importantly, having a love for the art of Taekwon-Do”....Read more
Don´t miss this opportunity to get on board this project which promises to be one of the most important developments in ITF´s future. In the two day course you will learn useful teaching strategies for kids, how to teach this program and you will receive the instructor´s manual which will have a full description of the course structure and contains a list of activities and games to help you plan your lessons.
The ITF is ready to start theTaekwon-Do Kids Development Program (TKD Program) therefore you might request through the ITF HQ all documents in order to start the program in your country.
The Taekwon-Do Kids Development Program (TKD Program) is the official children’s programme for the ITF. It is designed for children aged 3 to 7 years old. It teaches basic Taekwon-Do Skills and Coordination Skills as well as Life Skills, Danger Awareness and Character Education. It is great for pre-school children as it teaches them discipline. The children are taught how to listen and to follow instructions.
The programme teaches foundational knowledge of Taekwon-Do and uses a unique blend of principles to provide the best opportunity for the student to develop in a way that will empower them for the rest of their life. The ethos of the program is to provide the student with a mind-set which will help them develop attitudes that promote a harmonious society.
The TKD Program uses a wide range of activities including; games, physical exercises, tasks, role playing, story telling, discussions, problem solving exercises, quizzes and puzzles. It uses a strategic reward system that gives positive encouragement to all students, including the less able, by rewarding them for their development.
Most of the games use a system which ensures that the games become a positive experience for the child which focuses on the developmental aspects of the game instead of the competitive aspect.
“Honestly speaking, I cannot think of a better programme than the TKD Program to further the physical, cognitive, behavioural, social, and moral development of young children worldwide. It is that good. I highly recommend it with the companion Study Book”
Doctor Janel Gauthier, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology, Laval University, Canada
Secretary-General of the International Association of Applied Psychology
One major advantage of using the TKD Program compared to the standard Taekwon-Do syllabus is that there are 6 grade levels to reach the Yellow Belt (8th Kup) level instead of 2. The standard syllabus including the first step from White Belt (10th Kup) to Yellow Tag (9th Kup) is not designed for very young children.
The problem is that there are many fundamental skills necessary to fulfil the requirements of performing various Taekwon-Do techniques. A child may take time to develop the balance, coordination, special awareness and muscle strength to perform these techniques to a reasonable standard. Developing these skills in 6 smaller stages is more suitable for the young children.
The programme uses a particular reward system that focuses on rewarding the process of Taekwon-Do development. This process includes developing learning skills, character development, mind skills, etc. The emphasis is moved away from the singular attainment of a goal and instead is placed more on the journey or pursuit of the goal.
Many educational programmes fail to reward the most important requirements for the developmental process and instead, they only focus on rewarding the actual attainment of the short term, medium term and long term goals. This creates a sense of failure to those children who struggle to achieve the required goals set by these kinds of programmes.
As well as basic Taekwon-Do skills, the programme teaches the basics of moral culture, cognitive skills, basic coordination skills, fitness and health and also important life-skills such as independence, organisation, teamwork, leadership, following instructions and responsibility.
There is also a supplementary section on danger awareness which teaches them to be aware about hazards and how to stay safe. It also teaches awareness of dangerous and hurtful behaviour including reckless behaviour, deviousness, child abduction, making trouble, bullying and aggressive behaviour. The syllabus not only teaches them to be aware of others behaving dangerously but also encourages them to avoid behaving in a manner that is dangerous to others.
The TKD Program provides the students with a 166 page Study Book which is full of cartoon illustrations. The study book has been written also to help parents or carers of the children to be involved with the program. They are encouraged to read the Study Book with their child at home, as parents play a major part in the students’ social integration. The parents’ involvement will reinforce what their children are learning in class.