Here’s another great article about kids and school. It’s about the importance of movement. It seems that many kids today don’t have the core strength to sit still all day, because all they do is sit. They’re in school (with no recess), then they’re doing homework, then they’re watching TV.
Kids are still developing their spacial relationships and sensory perception, so kids need to move even more than adults do. And kids’ brains are still developing. The younger the kid, the more necessary it is to physically interact with his or her environment. It’s not just how young children learn (although it is how young children learn) movement prepares a child’s brain for learning. So without adequate time spent moving in various ways every day, it becomes very difficult for kids to learn.
Some people live in genuinely dangerous neighborhoods. For the rest of us, though, there’s no reason kids shouldn’t be playing outside almost every day. Kids need to climb trees, to swim, to slide down snowy hills, to roll around, to wrestle, to ride bikes and throw balls and balance on things and swing and spin. There’s a reason that most kids like certain sensations–like swinging and spinning–that most adults don’t enjoy. Kids need to do those things to stimulate their sensory reactions. Various kinds of motions wire the brain in different ways. That wiring is an important part of child development. A part that’s being left out of more and more children’s lives.
As a society, we’ve been cutting movement–recess, sports, playing outside–and other nurturing activities–free play, music, art–from the lives of children. We’ve done this in the name of safety and in the name of academics. But as a result, our kids are less safe and less able to learn. We’ve got to do better.
Update 7/10/14: Here’s another article about movement and learning.