Life on the move!
My Fifteen year old son is studying for his final exams in his room when a neighbour drops by for a chat. As we talk, a series of soft rhythmic thumps punctuate our discussion. “What is that? “She asks. “Oh!” I say “That’s just my boy studying for his finals”
This news is met with incredulity, almost everyone equates concentration with a still body and silence, so my boy hitting a tennis ball against the wall of his bedroom as he studied seemed absurd. However, research indicates that movement plays a significant role in the way children think and learn.
Here are a few points to consider with regards to your child’s habits:
- Infants and Toddlers must have very high levels of physical movement in order to facilitate cognitive growth
Children are often secured in ways that discourages movement as their interference in adult life is seen as very inconvenient. It is important to note that the brain is a muscle and that it needs to create the strength needed to absorb a lifetime of information. The sensation that enters the hand and feet as well as the information gathered through the other senses, combine together to send electrical impulses to the brain. These stimulants strengthen connections in the brain each time movement is present.A child that is restricted from moving is deprived of brain growth stimulus.Perhaps we can consider redirection rather than deprivation.
- Children absorb information better through experiential learning
Have you ever tried to recreate a recipe seen on television? Or passed onto you verbally by a friend ? It may not turn out exactly right the first time, but will improve with more attempts. Such improvement is unlikely simply by watching the program repeatedly or reading the article over and over.Could we find a practical applications for the things our children learn.
- Children are constantly rediscovering their changing abilities.
Children can continue to grow until their late teens. With each change they need to discover and then assess their new capacity. How will this be possible without the habit of an active lifestyle?Young children who are steered toward sport and movement have a much stronger chance to acquire advanced motor control, resulting often in a love for a healthier lifestyle.Who would not wish this for their child?
- Memory and movement are intrinsically linked
Much data exists where movement has been used as a tool toward learning rather than being viewed as a deterrent or distraction. Studies on brain activity have found that children who engage in active learning have accelerated levels of brain activity when compared to those in passive learning programs. Children have been seen to benefit greatly from physical activity breaks every twenty to twenty five minutes. To be fair, it is also difficult for adults to concentrate without branching off into a daydream, chat, phone check or leg stretch for longer.How can we accommodate this natural human tendency at home when our children study?
Lots to think about,happy Parenting !
Founder and Academic Director
Little Explorers Montessori Plus School