Why Wiggling, Jumping, and Running are the Next “New” Topic in Education
For those of you who have little ones, you know immediately what I’m talking about, don’t you? Children and movement are almost synonyms. Place a child in a classroom environment, and that need to wiggle becomes even more evident.
As homeschoolers, we may not be requiring our children to sit at a desk all day, moving only when they are called on, but it is important for us to remember that their “need for speed” is real.
It makes sense that they are this way. Their bodies are in full-on growth mode. The cells of their muscles, bones, skin, and nerves are constantly dividing, reforming, building. That means that they need to be using their continually changing body to strengthen it and help it to correctly form.
The need for students to move is becoming a hot topic in the school systems. More and more children are given labels of suspected ADHD, because they regularly have difficulty paying attention in class. And with mandatory attendance and pre-K or younger classes meeting for longer periods of time, children are expected to sit for much longer times at much younger ages.
School systems are discovering that children aren’t moving enough, and it is beginning to be a problem.
Well, if you have your children at home, why is this important for you to know?
As homeschoolers, it is so easy to fall in to the classroom model, where we give our children desk work or require them to recite facts to us while we stand at our white board.
Now that form of learning in itself is not bad. In fact, I did this with my kids often. But I had to constantly remind myself that they regularly needed to move. They actually learned better while they were moving.
Why is that? Well, without getting all biological on you, the brain connects experiences together, taking in what is thought and felt, along with all the other senses at that moment.
Have you ever walked into a store and smelled something that instantly brought you back to a moment in time? A vivid memory? That is because your brain connected that sensory stimulus with the thing you were doing or the place you were visiting. Our brains are amazingly designed.
Combine this phenomenon with the need for children to use their pent up energy with their high metabolic rate, and you can use their need to move as a learning tool!
Children actually learn better when they can move. Some days I would have my children spout out their multiplication tables as they hopped on a hopscotch drawing on the sidewalk (remember those?). You can build an indoor obstacle course for them to move through as they tell you what you just read in history.
While we had read-alouds, I would let little ones sit quietly on the floor and roll a ball back and forth or stack blocks. As their ears were listening to my words, their eyes were observing the placement of the blocks, precariously stacked. Their arms were tensing as they carefully placed the next block on top. And they remembered the story. I would occasionally stop reading to ask them questions, and they never missed a beat.
But when I required them to be still (when they were feeling wiggly), I had a much harder time getting them to respond to questions after I read.
There is a definite connection with movement and learning.
So let them move! Be creative to help them feed that need to stimulate their muscle cells WHILE they stimulate their brain cells. You will be enhancing their ability to learn.
And they will have fun!