Rhythm is a "strong, regular, repeated pattern of movement or sound".
We can find rhythms inside of ourselves (our heartbeat and breathing) and outside of ourselves (day/night, seasons of the year).
Rhythm provides an anchor and helps us feel secure and in control of our environment.
The 'contraction', or 'breathing in' phase allows a child to direct their attention to an activity that basically relates to themselves. Each breathing-in period lengthens with the age of the student- beginning at around 5-7 minutes for kindergarteners, up to 30 minutes for middle schoolers.
Drawing, watercolor, copywork and individual math or reading practice are all examples of breathing-in acitivites.
In the 'expanding', or 'breathing out' phase the child mainly relates to the surrounding world. Lunch preparation, group discussion, free play, outside play that involves large motor skills, etc.
For each breathing-in period, a child needs a breathing-out period.
Children need limits- a time to sit at a desk, a time to play, a time to eat, what to eat, what language to use are all examples of the limits we clearly set.
Our daily rhythm gives our students the consistency they need to feel secure.
A great deal of classroom management is setting clear limits beforehand, and simply not allowing students to go beyond the limits. If a teacher stays ahead of a child and sees a situation arising, with humor and the right gesture or word, we can move away from the situation.