The more I travel and deliver workshops and presentations the more my confidence in the future increases. Not that I am talking about the immediate future and certainly not in my lifetime but wherever I go I meet more and more practitioners who actually ‘get it’. Although they are in the minority at the moment I get the feeling that the more they share with each other the more people will join their ranks……and at some stage their voice will be heard.
Governments, Sporting Federations, in fact any type of ‘committee’ will invariably slow progress down as they clutter the landscape with jargon, power struggles, paper-chases and any other element that makes them more important than the recipients (joe public; the athletes; schoolchildren; etc).
“A small group of people can change the world” Margaret Mead
A few days ago I felt, again, less alone when I read an article from a friend of mine, Jeremy Frisch. There he was in another country trying to help all those who long for improvement in the well-being of their children. He did a simple job of listing some of the many reasons why we simply must consider getting the younger generations more physically active. His target audience (as mine has been in recent months) was the decision-makers in Elementary / Primary Schools who still seem reluctant to ‘grasp the nettle’ where physical activity is concerned. Jeremy’s synopsis tells it all. If you are a parent surely you will ask some questions of teachers who fail to ‘get the kids moving’ regularly. If you are a teacher maybe you will be asking the curriculum designers to re-consider the amount of training you get in the area of physical activity delivery.
Here is Jeremy’s list of arguments FOR an increased committment to appropriate physical activity for children.
The importance of Movement and Play for Children in School
Some food for thought in regards to the importance of recess and other physical activities during the school day:
1. Children learn through movement and play which helps develop both gross and fine motor skills needed in the classroom.
2. Sitting still and paying attention for long periods of time requires significant static strength, balance and posture all of which are developed through movement and play.
3. Movement and play (especially outdoor play) allows the brain/body to receive more oxygenated blood improving the potential for clear thinking and concentration.
4. Children retain information better in segments rather than long drawn out class periods…when movement and recess breaks are given it allows them to process information in small pieces and thus gain a better understanding of the presented material.
5. Movement and play is the best antidote to eliminate obesity and obesity health related issues.
6. Movement and play allow children to socially interact thus strengthening peer relationships, cooperation and leadership skills.
7. Unstructured movement and play allows children to push physical boundaries and gain a better understanding of spatial surroundings.
8. Outdoor movement and play exposes children to sunlight and the production of Vitamin D which has both direct and indirect positive effects on learning.
9. Movement and outdoor play allows children to be loud, boisterous and messy which is usually not allowed indoors.
10. Movement and outdoor play allows those children with excess energy and anxiousness to blow off some steam.
11. Movement and play allows children a break from the expectations of adults have to sit, listen and learn.
12. Children who engage in movement and play activities in school are more likely to engage in those same activities at home.
13. Recent research points that children labeled as ADD/ADHD actually lack certain physical skills that can be developed and refined through movement and play activities that will carry over to classroom performance.
14. Vigorous movement and play releases a certain chemical in the body called BDNF (brain- derived neurotrophic factor) that has been termed by many scientists as “miracle grow for the brain.”
15. Movements like climbing, hanging and crawling used in P.E. involves specific use of the hands that helps develop strength needed for efficient handwriting and fine motor skill.
16. Movement and play allows children to be more creative and become better problem solvers.
17. Children exposed to movement and play at a young age will be more apt to continue to explore movement and play as well as exercise when they get older.
18. Movement and outdoor play exposes children to the environment building a stronger immune system.
19. Movement and play often involves children running, sprinting, jumping and changing direction all of which develop strength through the lower body as well as cardiovascular conditioning.
20. Children love movement and play and should be given every opportunity to do so!
“Ignite Gym | At Ignite! We Practice Enrichment through Exercise.” Ignite Gym RSS2. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Feb. 2013.
Goddard, Sally, Lawrence J. Beuret, and Peter Blythe. Attention, Balance, and Coordination: The A.B.C. of Learning Success. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009. Print.
Graham, George, Shirley Ann. Holt/Hale, and Melissa Parker. Children Moving: A Reflective Approach to Teaching Physical Education. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2007. Print.
Pica, Rae. A Running Start: How Play, Physical Activity, and Free Time Create a Successful Child. New York: Marlowe &, 2006. Print