Thursday, August 2, 2012

Movement in the classroom

Recently I was asked to speak at a professional development program for a local school district. The focus of this class is ways to enrich learning in Pre-K and Kindergarten environments. I decided to speak on something that is close to my heart, movement! Movement is a critical part of brain development in children and too many schools are requiring far too much seat work from their younger students.

Here is a piece from my presentation that I wanted to share with you all.....

Remember when most kids would actually walk to school and ride their bikes to play with friends?! Those days seem to have been replaced by sedentary play that is focused around technology. Technology is wonderful, it has allowed for a never-ending flow of knowledge at just the click of a button, however it has also replaced one of the fundamental building blocks of learning, MOVEMENT!! We must remember that play serves a central role in learning, whether it is academic or behavioral.

Sadly an increasing emphasis on academics has forced schools to demand more testing, which usually requires more seat work in the classroom. Therefore evidence of learning has taken a turn. Parents are excited by what their children are “learning” via flashcards, DVDs, and computer programs, rather than an increase in dialogue, confidence, and a genuine love of learning. We must remember that rote learning is the result of sheer memorization. Authentic learning involves comprehension. Authentic learning, the process of exploration and acquiring knowledge will serve a child endlessly.

We’ve all heard that children learn by doing, in fact movement is the child’s preferred mode of learning! We see that physical activity activates the brain much more so than seat work. Sitting increases fatigue, therefore reducing concentration, while movement feeds oxygen and glucose to the brain, optimizing its performance. Children need to move about their environment in order to bring meaning and intention to knowledge.

Now when can we use movement in Classrooms?! Well in a preschool or Pre-k setting we can start our day with an active circle time. In Kindergarten we can take breaks and dance or exercise. Try moving about the classroom for lesson enrichment, move to transition between classroom activities or within the school building. Also, teachers should play with children during outdoor play! Something as simple as blowing bubbles for students to catch or pop encourages them to run and jump! We need to encourage structured and unstructured physical play!

Some good facts to keep in mind ~

Submitted by admin on February 1, 2011 - 8:42am.
·ADH Learning D
The National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE, 2009) recommends that:

  • Young children should not be sedentary for more than 60 minutes at a time, except when sleeping.
  • Toddlers should accumulate at least 30 minutes a day of structured physical activity and at least 60 minutes a day of unstructured physical activity.
  • Preschoolers are encouraged to accumulate at least 60 minutes a day of both structured and unstructured physical activity.
  • While 60 minutes a day is the suggested minimum, it is further recommended that children accumulate “up to several hours” of physical activity daily.

Interesting right?!

Happy Playing, Exploring, and MOVING!!


  1. Movement is something very close to my heart. We play games and make obstacle courses almost daily. I find when I set something up I'm more likely to get into it and really play with the boys outside. :) Great post!