The Body Matters Too! Book Study Expert Commentaries for Chapters 10, 14, 15, 16 (Week 7)

Published on: October 12, 2015

Filled Under: Beyond The Pages, Guest Speakers

Views: 6055

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This week we are discussing Chapter 10: The Myth of the Brain/Body Dichotomy, Chapter 14: The Body Matters Too, Chapter 15: Reading, Writing, Rithmetic, and Recess, and Chapter 16: Why Kids Need Gym. We have two guest experts this week to provide insight and lead our discussion: Lorie Barnes and Rich RairighJust joining us? Get all the book study details HERE.

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Lorie Barnes1Some questions are easy to answer.  Like, “Would you be interested in being a part of an innovative, online nationwide book study of Rae Pica’s newest title, ‘What If Everybody Understood Child Development?: Straight Talk About Bettering Education and Children’s Lives’?”   Answer: “Yes!” Other questions however require and inspire deeper pondering and reflection.  Like the title of this book for example.  In this week’s blog post, we are diving into Chapters 10 and 15 from Part II: Understanding the Mind/Body Connection.  In Chapter 10: The Myth of the Brain/Body Dichotomy, we are equipped with resources and perspectives that can help us challenge long-held practices that do not adequately and intentionally educate the whole child.  Chapter 15: Reading, Writing, ‘Rithmetic… and Recess, invites us to be defenders of recess and play as a means of supporting children’s positive experiences and outcomes.

Second verse same as the first

We educators are well-versed in the art of “singing to the choir” but we often struggle with helping those outside our field understand, embrace and reply upon important early childhood concepts as a foundation for their decision-making.  Rae Pica’s book gives us the tools to help non-educators join us in understanding and to join together in doing what is best for children.  Chocked full of resources to unpack and explore, “What If?” helps us strengthen family engagement and empower families as advocates for their child.  There are resources here so we can challenge and support school and community leaders in examining local policies and practices and moving forward with bold, innovative educational leadership.  We must invite and persist in having state and national policymakers join this conversation to ensure that funding and lawmaking decisions align with critical evidence-based and evidence-informed research.  By helping others consider these “What if’s?”, educators will be better supported to create learning experiences that embrace and value the art and science that we, as professionals, bring to our work of helping children learn and grow.  We must not only be leaders in our schools, but leaders in our communities and state.  Rae Pica’s book helps us become strong, effective leaders.

Being an effective leader requires us toaddress challenges in optimistic, innovative ways.  In preparing for the two chapters that I was invited to reflect upon, I faced somewhat of a personal dilemma.  These chapters about the critical importance of holistic teaching that weaves together movement, learning, recess, and play conjured up a painful memory for me.  When my youngest child (now 17) was in first grade (he was a young first grader), his teacher was given a class schedule in which their recess period was the very last twenty minute period of the day and began at 3:00 pm.  Mind you now, that the twenty minutes included transition to outside, “playing” (had to have been more like one huge collective sigh of relief from both students and teacher) AND getting back inside to pack up for final bell to end the day.  Nowadays, I have had folks say to me, well at least they got recess… it’s been completely eliminated from our daily schedule. THIS IS NOT OKAY FOLKS! And we have to ask leaders to consider with us the reasons why and to make direly-needed changes.

Another critical message we need to have with each other is this…. please, fellow educators, stop making kids “walk the track” when they get outside as punishment (okay, I’ll let you call it “consequences) for something that most-likely happened hours before and was most-likely an important missed cue about that child’s instructional and relationship needs.  Children come to link “punishments/consequences” (ask kids how they view it) with both academic failure and dislike of physical activity.  This is one we ourselves can fix with more effective teaching and behavior supports.  So let’s make this one happen.  Please.

Let’s answer the question “What if?” by employing our resources

Perhaps you have heard someone half-jokingly say, “We spend the first three years of children’s lives teaching them to walk and talk; then we spend the next fifteen years telling them to “sit down and be quiet.”  In many of today’s educational settings this is no laughing matter.  Chapters 10 and 15 can help shift to a richer “both/and” conversation instead of an “either/or” dichotomy.

Ignacio Estrada is credited with the quote: “If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn.”  This somewhat simplistic statement is often elusive in educational reality.  We can teach the way children learn by being intentional, reflective and responsive. We can teach the way children learn by grounding our practices in our expert knowledge, like NAEYC’s Developmentally Appropriate Practice which tells us that child development occurs in predictable, sequential patterns. We can teach the way children learn by applying educational theory such as Lev Vygotsky’s “Zone of Proximal Development” and Daniel Goleman’s “Multiple Intelligences.

Let’s consider a few examples of applying knowledge and theory.  Activities grounded in the understanding that development occurs in predictable, sequential patterns provide relevant and meaningful experiences for young children.  Fine motor development is supported when children are provided with robust gross motor experiences.  Walking, skipping, tiptoeing, jumping and twirling on large patterns taped on the floor or drawn with sidewalk chalk provide a whole body experience for children that can later translate into a paper and pencil experience.  Similarly, the ability to traverse across a long straight line on the ground supports the later ability to draw a straight line on paper. The same applies to curvy lines, squiggly lines and zigzag lines.  Writing intersecting lines such as the letter “t” on paper becomes much more relevant when children have had prior experience with intersecting lines in ways like riding a tricycle or scooter on an intersecting pathway.  Children develop visual/spatial acuity when they get to experience “personal space” during gross motor activities which leads to refined skills like properly spacing letters and words on paper.

Daniel Goleman’s “Multiple Intelligences” theory promotes that there are many ways to learn and many ways to show what is known.  Years ago, my very “body/kinesthetic” son was struggling with learning his “spelling” homework consisting of writing each word ten times.  When we shifted to practicing his spelling words by having him put his whole body into the shape of each letter, not only did he have more fun, but his success on spelling tests skyrocketed!  I’ll never forget him excitedly bringing home that first improved test score and saying, “Mom, I did better because I just remembered in my mind the way I moved for each word and then I put that on my paper!”

Check out how this innovative teacher uses singing and dancing to help kids learn mathematical and reading skills: http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/the-music-of-math/.  This powerful, playful approach to learning simultaneously stimulates multiple parts of the brain, thus creating strong neural pathways.  Excitement, joy, confidence, increased knowledge, and stronger brain connections result from simple shifts in how we provide children with learning experiences.

This TED Talk, “ The Best Kindergarten You’ve Ever Seen” not only shows us a huge “what if?” related to innovative learning environments but also reminds us that children need practice taking “safe risks” that help them develop impulse control and higher order cognition.

This TED Talk, “How to Escape Education’s Death Valley” by Sir Ken Robinson (TED Talks’ most viewed speaker) exemplifies the main point of Chapter 10: The Myth of the Brain/Body Dichotomy.  In particular, his comments at the 4:40-5:40 minute mark capture the critical importance of holistic teaching.  He explains that he is not bashing the important focus on science and math.  In fact, he says they are very necessary; but they are not sufficient.  He goes on to say that for a proper education, children need the arts, humanities, and physical education.

“Defenders of Play”

Chapter 15 of Rae Pica’s book challenges us to be defenders of recess and play.  I’ve shared one of my own personal stories.  I’m certain there are so many others.  Recess, Rae explains, provides opportunities for stress relief, increases oxygen and glucose flow to the brain and provides important physical activity for overall health and well-being.  An additional benefit of affording children unstructured play experiences is what we can learn as we observe and engage with children during recess.  When children play, they naturally go into their “Zone of Proximal Development.”  This concept given to us by theorist Lev Vygotsky helps us understand that true learning occurs when experiences for children are challenging enough to motivate/interest them and easy enough for them to experience success.  When activities are too hard, children get frustrated.  When activities are too easy, children get bored.  And you may have noticed that the negative behaviors resulting from either frustration or boredom look much the same!  And negative behaviors and learning do not go hand in hand.  When allowed to explore, investigate, construct, inquire, move, engage with others… PLAY… we get a wonderful view of a child’s current developmental skill set and a glimpse into the challenges they are ready for next so that we can intentionally plan for their more structured experiences in a classroom setting.  As we are engaged with, observant and reflective of children during recess, we are actually lesson planning.

A recent interview from “Inspiration 4 Teachers” podcast, Episode 35: Connecting the Mind and Body for Learning provides the opportunity for us to hear directly from Rae Pica herself.  Listen as Rae Pica shares her knowledge, insights and commitment to leading an educational revolution that will help ensure children receive the high quality, multi-faceted learning experiences they both need and deserve.

Expand your own capacity to be a more intentional educator and to increase your impact by sharing these concepts and resources with others so that you can help answer the question, “What If Everybody Understood Child Development?”

Lorie Barnes
Website: http://ncaeyc.org/ 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ncaeyc
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ncaeyc
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/ncaeyc/

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RichRChapter 14:  The Body Matters, Too

In Chapter 10, Rae set the stage for the connection between the mind and the body but now in Chapter 14 there is more focus on the importance of children’s movement.  Spending two decades working with children and teachers on being physically active, not much has really changed within the education system.  Over the last 10-15 years, we’ve really seen a heightened focus on children’s health as it is related to overweight  and obesity but I am shocked that most of the attention is focused on nutrition and weight versus physical activity and health-related fitness.  In my current work, I have found it essential to focus on the fitness and not the fatness.  Although the stats related to children’s health and sedentary behaviors are outrageous, it seems to be common knowledge that being physically active has specific positive benefits and being sedentary has clear consequences, but we still hesitate to be active.  The biggest things I have noticed is that adults, and a growing number of children, are hesitant to focus on physical activity in the classroom and at home for a few key reasons: 1) a lack of knowledge about what physical activity is and/or includes, 2) a lack of ability or confidence to be physically active, and 3) a lack of motivation and interest to be physically active.  I will talk more about what makes up physical activity in the Chapter 16 blog.

With societal changes we have seen the increase in technology, the decrease in children’s connection to nature, and a generation of “helicopter” parents and educators that have limited the movement opportunities for children.  The really scary thing about this is that the behaviors and habits we are seeing in very young children transcend into adolescence and adulthood (which then continues to repeat in this cycle until a desired change is needed/wanted).  I remember back to my childhood and the opportunities that I had playing outside after school with neighborhood friends until the lights came on in the streets (this included games like Kick the Can and Hide and Seek, climbing trees, building forts, playing in creeks, and riding bikes).  Rollerskating at the elementary school on Saturday afternoons and continuing this into high school at the local Skateland.  My fondest memories were of being active, usually outdoors, and usually without any adult supervision.  Actually, now that I think about it, my mom really didn’t want me hanging around the house and usually insisted that I go out and play.  Somewhere along the way I must have suppressed these memories as I stopped playing as much and became less active and focused more on being a productive educator.  Now as I get older and have two young children, I have found my way back and am trying to pass on my passion, memories, and experiences to others so that they can gain some benefit.

It is essential for our children to have both structured (teacher-led) and unstructured (child-directed) movement opportunities so that they can build their movement vocabulary, movement schema (the more movement opportunities and experiences a child has, the more connections they will form within the brain and the quicker they will be able to access these for future movement opportunities), and movement competency.  With this they will be more likely to be active adults.  This doesn’t mean that classroom teachers need to become physical educators or parents to become fitness instructors.  What it does mean is that we need to find better and more frequent opportunities to make learning active and integrate movement into our daily lives.

The biggest thing to take away from this blog is that we need to provide a wide variety of movement opportunities for children.  Find fun and easy ways to engage our children and families in physical activity on a daily basis.  This can range from family walks after dinner (which also help strengthen family bonds) to structured sports and fitness opportunities.  Don’t think you need to over structure your children’s lives by specializing them in a sport or signing them up for tons of activities.  Allowing them time to explore your homes, classrooms, and neighborhoods helps increase physical activity levels, improve motor skills and movement concepts, strengthen bonds and communication skills with others, develop responsibility, and so much more.  The time is right for a major shift in thinking about what children should and can do.  I’m dedicated to being a part of the movement (enjoy the pun), are you?

Resources:

  • Louv, R. (2006). Last child in the woods: Saving our children from nature-deficit disorder. Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill.
  • Sax, L. (2007). Boys adrift: The five factors driving the growing epidemic of unmotivated boys and underachieving young men. New York: Basic Books.
  • Tomporowski, P., McCullick, B., & Pesce, C. (2015). Enhancing children’s cognition with physical activity games. Human Kinetics.
  • Graham, G., Holt-Hale, S., & Parker, M. (2006). Children moving. A Reflective Approach to Teach Physical Education.

Thought Questions:

  • Are you providing enough movement opportunities in your daily lessons?
  • How are you engaging your kinesthetic learners?
  • Are you providing a variety of free play opportunities for your children?  If so, are you providing a variety of loose parts and portable equipment for them to use in active ways?
  • When you talk about being outside or being physically active, do you say negative things or have a not so positive attitude?
  • If you don’t know much about children’s movement and physical activity, who can you go to for help?
  • What might you be doing to limit or inhibit children’s physical activity and movement opportunities?

Chapter 16:  Why Kids Need Gym

Rae Pica does a really good job throughout the book making a strong statement for why children need to be moving and why teachers and parents need to find ways to connect movement with learning and life.  In Chapter 16, we move from talking about what parents and classroom teachers can/should do to what physical education and a physical educator can/should do.

After spending several years in quality Physical Education Teacher Education programs (WVU and USC), I was blessed to start my career as an elementary physical education teacher in Prince Georges County, Maryland.  I took my job very seriously and would always have teachers, parents, and children tell me that I taught “gym” and my response was always, “I don’t teach a building, I teach Physical Education.”  Even to this day, my children (ages 12 and 10) correct anyone that refers to Physical Education as “gym”.  It has always felt that society viewed a classroom teacher and a physical education teacher differently and in many cases, the physical educator was seen as a coach, recess facilitator, or general game player.  The first few years at a new school were always the toughest as many parents weren’t used to accountability in PE and would come in after the first report card and wonder why there child got a C in “gym.”  It’s important to understand the content of physical education in order for us to understand why children need it.

Just as other core academic subject areas have specific standards, curriculum indicators, and performance outcomes, so does physical education.  Our goal as parents and educators should be on developing children into physically educated and physically literate adults.  Let’s take a look at the national physical education standards:

  • Standard 1 – The physically literate individual demonstrates competency in a variety of motor skills and movement patterns.
  • Standard 2 – The physically literate individual applies knowledge of concepts, principles, strategies and tactics related to movement and performance.
  • Standard 3 – The physically literate individual demonstrates the knowledge and skills to achieve and maintain a health-enhancing level of physical activity and fitness.
  • Standard 4 – The physically literate individual exhibits responsible personal and social behavior that respects self and others.
  • Standard 5 – The physically literate individual recognizes the value of physical activity for health, enjoyment, challenge, self-expression and/or social interaction.

The standards focus on physical literacy, the mastering of fundamental movement skills and fundamental sport skills that permit a child to read their environment and make appropriate decisions, allowing them to move confidently and with control in a wide range of physical activity situations.  Sounds great, right?  The more we know and are able to do, the more likely we are to be and stay active through our lifetime.  The only problem with this is that as Rae mentioned early on in Chapter 16, if physical education instruction and content is delivered in an inappropriate way, children will be turned off and ill-prepared at an early age.  It’s important for us to move away from those games and activities that might eliminate children from physical activity (tag), harm them (dodgeball), or have them waiting and sedentary (relays or Duck, Duck, Goose) and provide quality educational opportunities that focus on motor skills (verbs – like skipping, throwing, striking, rolling, twisting, etc) and movement concepts (adverbs – like pathways, space, effort, relationships, levels, etc).  Think about when you were younger: Did your arms hurt after bumping a traditional volleyball (versus a soft volleyball)?  Did you get confused and frustrated when being thrust into a full basketball game without knowing how to play?  Did you avoid playing in a family badminton game because you hadn’t been taught or had the opportunities to develop competency in the skills needed to play?  As you probably already know, all children are not the same (abilities, learning styles, interests, etc.) but typically the motor skills and movement milestone they exhibit are age-related so be sure to allow for variation and be patient.

A key takeaway from this blog is provided as many appropriate movement opportunities and movement equipment (can be traditional, homemade, and even nature-based) as possible.   If educators are providing physical education to children in developmentally appropriate ways, it should be fun and desirable, leading to continued interest and involvement in the future.  Also remember movement and physical activity are very visual in nature and unlike written work, people can easily see when you do not succeed.  This can be very frustrating and embarrassing so it is important that we reduce comparing results and increase reinforcement on individual progress.  Provide a variety of movement opportunities and experiences in and out of school is so important positive lifelong movement habits.

Resources:

  • www.shapeamerica.org
  • www.pecentral.org 
  • American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. (2013). Grade-level outcomes for K-12 physical education on. Reston, VA: Author.
  • National Association for Sport and Physical Education. (2009). Appropriate instructional practice guidelines for elementary school physical education (3rd ed.). Reston, Va.: Author.
  • National Association for Sport and Physical Education. (2009). Appropriate practices in movement programs for children ages 3-5 (3rd ed.). Reston, Va.: Author.
  • Graham, G., Holt-Hale, S., & Parker, M. (2006). Children moving. A Reflective Approach to Teach Physical Education.

Thought Questions:

  • Do you have negative memories about your physical education experiences as a child?  If so, what could you do to make sure that your children don’t have those same negative experiences and future memories?
  • Are you utilizing the expertise of your physical education teacher?  If you don’t have a physical education teacher or PE specialist, what can you do to ensure your children are getting what they need?
  • In order to develop a physically educated and literate individual do you always need to provide direct, teacher-led opportunities?  If not, how would you ensure that children are learning and getting the practice they need?
  • There is so much attention on childhood obesity and the need for vigorous physical activity.  How can you accomplish both motor skills instruction and health-related fitness (cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance, muscular strength, flexibility, and body composition)?

Rich Rairigh
Website: http://www.beactivekids.org/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/beactivekids
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BeActiveKidsNC
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/beactivekidsnc/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/BeActiveKids

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Please share/retweet this post! Let us know that you’re participating in this study. We’d love to hear from you about your thoughts regarding Chapters 10, 14, 15, and 16  and about the commentary that Lorie and Rich have provided. Your voice matters – participate in the dialogue and share your ideas here! (Comment below) If you’ve chosen to blog about what you’ve read on your own site, link back and share your post with us here. Perhaps you have a burning question about something that you read in one of these chapters… we have a feature for that – Ask The Author! That’s right, Rae Pica will be available throughout this live study to answer your questions. #AskAuthor

What to read next: Chapter 11 Why Does Sitting Still Equal Learning? and Chapter 12 In Defense of Active Learning (10/19/15).

*If you’re a MN participant seeking training hours, please visit this link to access to requirements.

47 Responses to The Body Matters Too! Book Study Expert Commentaries for Chapters 10, 14, 15, 16 (Week 7)

  1. Rae Pica says:

    My goodness, Lorie and Rich. I’m overwhelmed by the amount and depth of information here! Thank you for putting so much thought — and heart — into this entries, and for offering so many additional resources! Can’t tell you how much I appreciate it — and both of you.

    Lorie, your point about not using physical activity as punishment is SO important. Why would we want to take something that children love — and need — so much and turn it into something they loathe?

    And, Rich, the reasons you listed as to why adults are hesitant to focus on physical activity in the classroom totally resonated with me. Readers of Exchange will recall that I just wrote a piece for the September/October issue, called “Overcome Resistance to the ‘M’ Word and Make Movement Part of the Program.” In it I write that over the years I’ve encountered four principle reasons why ECE professionals aren’t chomping at the bit to facilitate movement experiences. They are:

    1. “I don’t know enough about movement/motor development.”

    2. “I don’t feel comfortable moving/doing physical activity myself.”

    3. “We don’t have the time/space for physical activity.”

    4. “I’m afraid the children will get out of control.”

    I’d love to hear comments from the members of this book study. Do any of these resonate with you? What are your thoughts about the connectedness of mind and body? Do you subscribe to the belief that the mind and body are separate — and that the mind is superior to the body? If so, why? If not, why not?

  2. Sarah Fritsch says:

    Rae: The subject of learning through moving is so important to our Early Childhood program! Our staff is doing a book study on A Moving Child is a Learning Child by Gill Connel. We have a “smart movers” room, in this room we have classes for parents and their children. The room is set up with many large motor activities and small motor activities for parents and children to do together. The teachers also explain to parents what their children are learning through these activities. The room is also a place where the preschool classes can come and move when the weather is bad, or when they just need more large motor space then their classroom will allow.
    Rich: Thank you for the idea to have the PE teachers come and share their expertise. I am going to see if they will come and talk to my parenting groups too:)
    Lorie: Thank you for all the great resources, I will be sharing these with parents and other teachers.

  3. Scott says:

    Whenever things seemed to lag in my elementary classes, we would move. If the kids seemed antsy or unfocused, we would move. If we had done several sitting/more quiet activities, we would move. Sometimes it was stand and stretch or a quick brain break. Sometimes it would be longer (like a dance break!). Sometimes I just modified what we were doing to include a moving element. My kids “told” me they needed to move (just not with words). I do understand concerns of other teachers – kids may get out of control, we have limited time/space, etc. But if I’m tuned into my students and meeting their needs, I really cannot leave out movement.

    Thanks for all the great resources.

  4. Rae Pica says:

    Sarah, that’s wonderful! Gill is a friend of mine and her work is terrific. I’m totally in love with the idea of your “smart movers” room — especially the part where the teachers explain to parents what their kids are learning!

    Scott…yes!! The concern about kids getting out of control is ironic because it’s the kids who DON’T move who are most likely to act out!

  5. Lorie Barnes says:

    Scott, great approach to finding ways to embed movement into classroom activities.
    I have also heard from teachers who have concerns about allowing children to move in the classroom because it might get too wild or chaotic. The approach you describe seems to me that it would minimize if not even eliminate that potential “wildness” factor because children are getting what they need on a regular basis and therefore they learn how to regulate themselves during both high and low energy experiences.
    Another helpful hint for teachers who are new to including movement in their learning plans is to teach and practice with the children a visual cue that serves as a “quiet sign” so children will know when it’s time to refocus their energy and their attention.

  6. Jane Baumchen says:

    This topic was very inspiring for me. Sarah, I also really liked the “smart movers” room. This is really important to allow children the opportunity to move and experience activities in the most effective way to learn and allow the brain to fully devloped.

  7. Rachel Calvert says:

    As I’m reading through this book and we are discussing how in formal education these topics are often addressed “incorrectly” (based on child development knowledge and research), I find myself trying to understand how administrators and other leaders (some teachers included) get to their conclusions. As an adult, I need to take breaks for movement throughout my day and have firsthand experience with feeling better and more engaged when my whole body is involved in an activity – so the expectations for kids to sit to learn and/or skip recess as punishment is mind boggling. I love all of the creative ideas that have been put forth – what I take away is that it really does take engaged, in-tune educators to know when and how to include extra movement with “mind” learning.

  8. Rae Pica says:

    I’m with you, Rachel! It often seems to me as though decision makers (some teachers included) would prefer that kids NOT be kids. If that’s the case I’m perplexed as to why they’d ever go into the education field.

  9. Jen Nagorski says:

    At this point in the book study, I am beginning to see that all of the topics we are delving into are so intertwined. This week we are talking about the importance of movement and physical literacy, but these issues are influenced by other topics we have already covered–such as parenting and the importance of play.

    Lorie, hearing you talk about how you used movement to help your son with spelling words reminded me of a positive, movement-focused learning experience I had as a child. My Spanish teacher used movement to help us learn prepositions and a custom song to remember verb conjugation. This integrative technique seems like an approachable way for teachers who may be overwhelmed by adding movement to their day. The message is: movement doesn’t need to be extra (extra time, effort, etc), it needs to be intertwined.

    These chapters also made me think about he importance of movement in the hospital, specifically with the siblings we serve in the Sibling Play Area. We have an outdoor play deck open in the warmer months and children really seem to enjoy not only the fresh air but the opportunity for movement and to “blow off some steam.” I am inspired to think of ways to continue this focus on movement during the winter months, and as Rich advocates, look at how we can provide a variety of positive physical experiences for the children we work with.

  10. Dianne says:

    I find this topic of movement very interesting. As I daycare provider I can really see the importance of movement in the lives of children. With the advancements of technology and families investing in all the new technology for their children, there is not much active play going on in homes. Parents let their children sit on the couch and play video games or play on tablets or computers any time they want to. I have seen many families start their children on tablets as young as two years old. While there may be some benefits to this, I also see children spending much less time outside in active play – or even active play inside the house. Once their children start school, then the only active time they get is during the day at school.

    I make it a point to have active outside play on a daily basis – weather permitting. I can definitely tell during the winter when children are stuck inside more due to the extreme cold that they get very rambunctious and need to have an outlet to get rid of their extra energy. It is important to find other alternative ways to get rid of that extra energy – like exercising or dancing or playing circle games or movement games like Simon Says or Follow the Leader. Children need to be able to run and jump and just move in order to be able to focus on other things. They are much better behaved when there is a balance between active play and structured play.

    I definitely see that physical education is important through the school years. Many children do participate in sports but those that don’t need to have physical activity in their lives as well.

    I have negative memories of physical education as a child too. I think most of the negative feelings come from the fact that the teachers didn’t necessarily teach how to be successful at things or even help learn how to become better at the skills. I remember my physical education teachers just standing and watching after giving the directions as to what we were going to do.They praised the children that were good and told the other children what they were doing wrong but didn’t show them the correct way to do things. It may be due to the fact that I went to a smaller elementary school and the regular classroom teachers were the ones who also taught physical education class.

  11. Rae Pica says:

    Dianne, the two major reasons parents start their kids on tablets so early and allow them to sit around with electronics are: 1) the belief that the devices are “educational” and thus making them smarter (and, of course, the body has nothing to do with making kids smarter) and 2) fear of letting their children out of their sight! Neither of these is doing our children any good.

  12. Kim Woehl says:

    Ms. Rae – Your opening to chapter 16 mirrored my own experience in phy-ed. I hated it, I was terrified of that ball coming my way and I was always at the end of choices for teams. Your chapter was the first time in many, many years that I have ever been thoughtful about the self-image and self esteem issues. “but lack of them can result in poor self-image – and good-self image has been linked with a child’s emotional health, learning ability, and intellectual performance”. “People rarely partake in activities in which they feel unskilled”.

    From my perspective, I was a shy, rather quiet girl by temperament. I was not in child care as a young child and instead was allowed to play outdoors much of the day. We did not play with balls much and I was instead always loving on animals and playing with baby dolls.

    I entered kindergarten feeling good about myself, but later switched to a different school with a very different approach to physical education. It was here that I learned to hate, dread, feel sick about my skill level, be embarrassed by my lack of skill and so sad about being chosen almost last every time.

    It is because of this that I have been very thoughtful in how I create movement and practice skills with children. I focus more on personal bests and notice the growth in individual children. I also feel we do not need to give all children a ribbon or trophy but rather allow children to feel good about the effort they gave and talk about a few ways in which we might work to get better.

    We know kids need movement, they need recess, they need to feel good about their skills and they need to know that practice makes better. As you mentioned it is caregivers role to make sure that all children have a good self-image.

  13. Heather Q says:

    The obesity/exercise issue has me worried for our future kids. We live in a society where good, fresh, healthy food is expensive and kids are rushed from one thing to the next with no time to eat a meal other than in a car, or the other option, without parents at home and fending for themselves and eating, alone, in front of a T.V. Eating junk, fast food and too much soda. Compound that with no movement in an eight hour school day, and tired parents at home each night. Is it any wonder?

    http://hqtoddlers.blogspot.com/2016/05/week-seven-book-study-what-if-everybody.html

  14. Cindy Kish says:

    These chapters showed a whole picture of why we need both parts of our bodies to work together. We all have those stories in our past about PE and why we hated some parts of PE class, but a large part of those stories is because the education board and others have not changed there ways in decades, except to push more book time and less movement. The numbers show that taking away recess and free time play has only increased our obesity problem with more overweight and at younger ages than ever before.

    I have done family childcare for over 35 years now, and have some parents ask me why I make the kids pickup so often in a day. I tell them it teaches them to clean up after themselves but mostly it gives them time to move. I give them lots of free open play time along with art, music, small muscle and large muscle time. Some children have so much screen time at home it takes them time to learn how to do the large muscle. I use as much fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains as possible with mostly homemade foods so I can control the sugars and salt. It is amazing sometimes when I tell a parent your child really liked the sweet potatoes we had today, in fact he had 3 helpings. Usually I hear oh we don’t eat much vegetables and I understand they are busy and don’t have as much time to plan, clean and prepare so that is why it is important for me to do this here and have the children help depending on the abilities, and make sure they get a will rounded day here so both their body and brain develop.

  15. Diana M says:

    Thanks for all the information and resources in this post! From my experience, we used to try and make the older preschool class learn how to sit still for longer and longer periods of time because “they need to know how for kindergarten.” But obviously we had several children who just have to wiggle and move all the time so it was an impossible task for them to sit still for 20 minutes! Recently, we were asked to switch our schedule to include more movement and boy how that has made a difference! Not only are we no longer in a power struggle with the kids trying to make them sit and be quiet all the time, but the kids are happier and more willing to listen when they are moving. We are still working on accumulating more structured movement activities (again, not advocating a few for all chaos all day). It’s also way better to do the activities with the children, they are more willing and eager to jump up and down, spin around, etc when they see the teacher doing it!

  16. Rachel D says:

    Thanks for all of the great resources. It is always nice to have some information that is easy to get to and use. I find that today more and more time is spent inside the classroom and less time outside and moving around. I try to get my preschoolers to move around in the classroom by singing and dancing. A chance for them to move their bodies moving during group time. We also try to get outside of our classroom at least two times during the day. If the weather is not the best out we have the use of our playroom. It is easy to see why children need to be able to move around especially when you can see how the children act afterwards.

  17. Kelsie Brandl says:

    I work at a daycare for the toddler room. We have a 45 minute gym time. I have had quite a time trying to keep this age group of 1 ½ to 2 ½ year olds engaged. Just recently, our director told us to include exercises like jumping jacks as well as sit-ups. I found that ridiculous, but a co-teacher and I actually found the kids loving it and staying more engaged rather than just running, skipping, crawling etc. Yes, it was harder for them, being so young, but they liked the challenge. They found it funny, in a way. I love this age group because they’re so easy to get excited simply by a change of pace. Imagination is their playground.

  18. Samantha Miller says:

    Play and movement are so important for child development! In a time where we face a childhood obesity crisis why are children being forced to sit at desks and where physical education is being cut from schools. As early as possible we need to incorporate physical movement in our programs. Children today go home and sit in front of t.v.’s instead of playing outside and moving, we need to make sure we get these children moving as much as possible because it may be the only movement they get throughout the day!

  19. Freda says:

    So many people, for the fear of their kids getting hurt, try to prevent their children from partaking in P.E. They forget how important being active is. Doing less activities is more harmful to the body, mind and soul than getting involved in Physical education activities. Parents would rather have their kids studying than running track for fear that they’ll become unintelligent.
    Obesity is one of the rising issue in today’s society. As much as most people would rather blame it on the foods consumed, most of its causes results from not being involved in physical activities. Reading about obesity having a higher rise in kids than in adults is very shocking.
    Each day, regardless of what the schedule is, kids need breaks. This is very important but most of the times, get ignored. When they are tired, the learning process slows down. Letting them play and just having that time of the day where they don’t have to follow a particular structure can be very effecting in building their attitude and mindset.
    Everyone need movement in their lives. showing kids the best way to utilize each part of their body physically could be helpful in preventing future injuries.

  20. Nikki Shapiro says:

    I love this section of chapters and the discussion on physical unstructured play. I live in MN and often hear “it’s too cold to take my group outside” or “it takes too long to get them all dressed.” I believe strongly in multiple daily experiences outside no matter the weather. Parents signing their children up in my program agree to provide all types of weather dependent clothing – from rain boots and jackets to winter gear to swimsuits. We go outside many times per day. And part of physical activity is teaching children to dress themselves (that is a physical activity for littles), for the weather and for fun. And free play is so important. Yes structured games have a place – playing red light green light teaches stopping, starting and following rules. But when children are given a variety of equipment they can create so many fun games and storylines. Having a box with balls of different sizes, cones, hoops, jump ropes, etc., it is fun to observe them coming up with their own play. On another note, I am excited to see these concepts being embraced in my school district. Brain breaks are a regular item in the elementary school, and their is an indoor play room with all kinds of mats, balls, hoops for the younger children to move their bodies in addition to the outside play structures and the gym. Our high school has recently implemented “Leap hour” into its daily schedule. They shortened each class period by 3 minutes and now the students have a one hour lunch/ leap time so that they can engage their bodies with fun relaxing activities. Coaches are not allowed to use this time for training, nor are the music programs or any other academic area. Instead they have options such as free gym, hang out with friends, make a connection with a teacher such as a sewing club, walking club, movie club, legos,, board games, open gym, open weight room, etc. It is being recognized in our state as a model for high schools to follow as the teachers have documented increased participation in afternoon classes, better test scores and better attendance. We all need brain breaks throughout the day and our young people need it the most!

  21. Marcy Dragseth says:

    Reading chapters have made me very proud of my school. They have physical education and do some of the recommended movements in the classroom, recess before lunches and walking in the gym before the start of the day. They are giving our children every effort that is needed to keep them healthy, active and to keep them learning

    As a daycare provider I incorporate some of the motor skills during structured play and non-structured play. Structured play-Starting them on follow the leader having them maki g me different movements. (Touching your head, skipping, hoping etc).
    Non-structured play-giving them balls, pail, shovels among other things and letting them play.
    We have also drawn lines on the driveway and had them walk on the different types of lines (straight, curvy, zig zag) Also ages seems to enjoy this activity. When they walk or drive cars and trucks on them.

    Overall these chapters have reinforced how important teaching the motor skills and outside play is needed.

  22. Kirsten Barie says:

    Just like a previous poster, I also live in Minnesota and often hear the complaint from parents about the weather and going outside. We have guidelines that we follow and we are also NAEYC accredited so we must include daily outside play when we can. Most parents comment to us that they are happy that we take the children out so that way they don’t have to do it (which is pretty sad). If we can’t go outside, we have a large indoor muscle area we can use. We also incorporate activities in our hallways during the “free play/discovery time”. Teacher take small groups of students out in the halls to do large motor activities such as relays, balancing games, etc… The children love it and it is a great way to get out some of their energy.
    It is a shame that many schools are doing away with recess. I was shocked when my son was in elementary school and I went in one day to eat lunch with him. The children literally shoveled the food in their mouths, raised their hands to be excused by the clerks, and ran outside to play. When I I asked him about it later, he said that they all eat super fast so they have more time to play. I can remember years ago when I was in elementary school and we got to go outside for extra breaks that were not part of regular recess. They were scheduled every day. I loved them and I’m sure they were beneficial to all!

  23. Kelly North says:

    I have an in home daycare too and it is so frustrating when all they( kids ) want to do is watch t.v. or play on the computer. Some of them even have melt downs when I tell them no. I think part of the problem with this generation is all the electronics that are available, when we were kids we didn’t have them, so we played outside. Some of my fondest memories are when I’d walk to my friends house and we’d play outside all day and night with no parental involvement.
    Obesity is on the rise and I think this is due to the fact that kids are not getting enough physical activity, even though some think it’s because of the food we consume. I think both of these issues(obesity and nutrition) need to be addressed at home but more often at school.

  24. Yi Ling (Ivy) Flanders says:

    I love this chapter, as I do believe embrace the mind/body connection; kids need to move as they need, I like kids to get comfortable in the classroom. I like to encourage kids to try out different equipment in the playground when they are ready, I will show them how to do it, and encourage them to copy me, and to show them how fun it is. I like the idea of circulate among the children, posing questions and start games with them and then step out. We do not have PE in our school, but we try to show kids different equipment they can play in the playground and the gym, we have pictures with steps to show them the right way to play.

  25. Steph Kallinen says:

    Definitely agree with the last poster that electronics play a big part in inactivity. I have a day care and especially in the summer when I have school age kids all day every day I am asked all the time if they can bring their tablets and other devices to day care. NO! I have never allowed them and never will. It has contributed to kids not knowing how to play anymore. I hear “I’m bored” so often that it’s sad. They can’t entertain themselves with a big basket of blocks anymore, they need a screen in their hands.

    A couple years ago our school really cut back on recess time and the kids do eat first before they can go out. A bunch of parents, myself included, tried to fight this or at least get it changed so they ate after recess. We were not successful, and it remains the same to this day. Hopefully the trend will swing the other way over the next few years as the importance of play, recess, PE and the outdoors are proven again and again.

  26. Kathryn says:

    Children are active by nature so if you believe that having them inside at a desk for the entire day is to your benefit, good luck with that. It is proven that children who are more physically active perform better academically than their peers. It is my opinion that the schools who are taking recess and physical education classes out of the school day and curriculum are just asking for more trouble and more problematic behaviors appearing for teachers in the classroom. Our children are going to have shorter life expectancies than their parents if things are not turned around. Physical activities are beneficial in more ways than people think. Yes it helps with weight loss, controls or diminishes chances of certain health problems. But it also helps children learn the parts of the body, spatial awareness, and being able to start and stop on a signal. All of which are present in their academic careers.

  27. Samantha says:

    I have been horrible about physical play. If it’s beautiful out summer/winter we go outside. We ride bikes, race, we coloring, play games or sprinkler fun. I found days that we get stuck inside and I’m not sure what to do. I did take a training on physical activity and loved it. I got so many ideas to help me with indoor activities. I also took a class on “loose parts!” Allowing the kids to have to unstructured play with items that we may have never thought they would play with. I’m super excited to incorporate all the training I have.
    I think back to my PE days. We rented roller skates, we went bowling, we learned basketball or soccer, and we ran lines. We would play outside for baseball or kickball. I LOVED kickball. I was a Para in a school district and the games they played were odd. They had to incorporate education like math or reading. Not just go kick the ball and play, have fun. My son went to pre-school and I right across the street. I saw them outside maybe 3 times?? REALLY. Here we are at daycare and outside all the time. I feel somewhat responsible for the PE of my kiddos. My son is outside riding bike or walking along side mom. I can bet all my kids don’t do that. Beings they at my house 7-4p, I need to be doing more for them.

  28. Shari Ernst says:

    It’s so hard to believe we have to be defenders of recess and play for children. It is so true that children’s health is the responsibility of all who live and work with kids. It was shocking for me to read that 40% of elementary schools have eliminated recess. Good luck with sad, depressed, overweight kids with behavior problems. You don’t need money to let the kids have 15-45 minutes of free play outdoors. I will definitely advocate in my child’s school if they try to do away with recess. Kids are energy balls and they need to get fresh air and be outside to run, yell, and just be a kid. Adults need mind breaks or breaks from work so why would we not expect our children to have the same? I personally can relate to the drooling PE class when we had to pick people to be on our teams and we probably all can relate to hoping we were not the last one picked….I think they now have find a better approach to that by numbering kids, 1,2, and 3 to avoid the hurt feelings. But we are hearing about child obesity at alarming rates. How sad!! I know if the weather in our area is bad and we can’t go outside to play the kids get hyper, bored and behaviors start to show up. We have found that dancing to music or doing child yoga is a great alternative when we can’t be outdoors.

  29. Melissa D says:

    The mind/body connection is so important in the learning and development of the children in our care. Similarly to my comment that we as an industry may not be doing the best job promoting the importance of play to families I think we do similar here. We of course learn early on, either through education or experience, that children need to move to be successful learners. Offering opportunities throughout the day for the children to get active allows them to better handle less active times like group time. I often need to get up during my day to move and refocus…why would it be any different for the kids we care for?!

  30. Karlee O says:

    I teach a class of toddlers in central Minnesota. I dread winter because its the time of year when we rarely get outside. Behavior issues increase, fights and aggression increase, children don’t nap as well and become crankier, the toys, books and space become too familiar and “boring.” I live for outside time in the summer. I always say if I could find a way to do naptime outside I would. I cannot imagine how school aged children who are already required to sit still in desks for the majority of the day when their bodies are not made to do so would behave without recess or PE (phy ed as we called it at my elementary school) time to release their energy.
    A thought I had while reading chapter 10 was ‘its a shame that testing can’t be assessed through physical methods.’ Teachers can try to teach children in dynamic ways that involve the whole child that are more effective but unfortunately children are still required to sit still and quiet for testing which for some reason determines a school, teacher, and student’s worth.
    In chapter 14 I had thought about how the assessments used for all age levels at the childcare center I work at include a section on a child’s physical development. It’s interesting to me that early childhood school teachers are not asked to monitor this development anymore. Why is it more important at 4 years old than at 5, 7, 10?

  31. Jill Baer says:

    The comment on physical education as the label is huge. Kids not only learn while in gym, it also helps the to be able to return to the desk or table where they spend much of their time soaking in the daily lessons. If schools weren’t so focused on standardized test scores, I wonder if daily PE would come back. There is a large focus on healthy eating, but what about the focus in physical activity? There are not only physical health benefits to physical play, but also mental and emotional benefits as well. If we can not get outside due to rain or wind chill, we do things like cosmic kids yoga, dance parties, and indoor ball toss. I need it as much as the little ones and it sure brings out the smiles.

  32. Amy Carter says:

    I think this was spot on. Young children are physically unable to sit still for long increments. Kids do so much better once they’ve been outside and played. If they are able to take a break and get some physical activity in, they can then refocus and are refreshed and ready to learn again. It also helps so they are actually truely hungry an ready to eat. So many times kids get bored and want to eat junk food but refuse healthy options- because they aren’t actually hungry, just bored. After getting physical activity their little body’s are ready to eat and are actually hungry and more likely to eat healthy options- because they’re truly hungry. They also sleep so much better, which plays a huge part in supporting learning.

  33. Tasha Martin says:

    Chapter 10,14,15 & 16

    This one is tricky for me, I am a home body I hate going outside and doing stuff and I know I am teaching my children to be the same. They would rather spend time on tablets or watch tv. Sometimes I even have to force them outside. They will be running in the house chasing each other and i’m like go outside. Then I remember ahhh If I encourraged my children to be more outdoorsy I may not have such a hard time. Just because im not out doorsy doesn’t mean they cant be, I fear for them to even be in our back yard though I just don’t trust the world we live in. I need to stop applying my fears to them and let them experience life. In childcare I do encourage the outside. In the classroom I am currently in I do take them outside. I think it helps burn off all the extra energy then when we are just sitting inside. Owning my own childcare center for years I did find that it was a struggle getting staff to get the kids outside though. To hot, to cold, kids get messy, its boring alone. There were tons of excuses of why not to go outside but never a jump for joy to take them out

  34. Arissa Kordell says:

    I think it’s extremely important for kids to get moving! In my daycare we are constantly getting moving. Kids can’t stay focused long enough to sit through a long activity. It’s important for kids to stay focused and learn and have fun and thats why we keep them moving. We break up the day with free play to keep the kids engaged. After a scheduled activity we will have free play, music/dance, yoga, etc. Then when the kids have had time to relax we move on to the next thing. Kids brains need time to refresh after activities. It can be really frustrating when your doing a simple activity such as coloring a Halloween page and the kids color one pumpkin and decide they are bored and ready to be done. Then I remember that their little minds can’t keep focused on something like that for as long as we want and hope for. I usually have the kids leave their projects on the table and let them come back to them later.

  35. Laura says:

    I have a home childcare in MN where the winters are ridged to say the least. At times yes it is too cold to bring the littles out but most of the time it is not and its just a matter of the provider wanting or not wanting to take the time to put all the children in the appropriate winter gear that usually takes longer than the time you are out…. Children need to get fresh are and the great outdoors to have the space and availability to run and explore the great outdoors. Children need physical movement and need to see adults acting and playing in the physical movement also. The children in todays world are stressed and need the unstructured outdoor play to reduce it.

  36. Joni Helmeke says:

    I think it is truly sad that physical education and recess needs to be defended for elementary school kids. I don’t know about all preschools, but the ones I’ve worked in understand the importance of movement for young children, especially those with behavior difficulties. We took the children outside every day, and usually more than once so they could get fresh air and exercise (and to burn off energy). Included in our developmental assessments were motor skills. It’s disheartening that this wouldn’t be carried through for school age children. As a parent, and as an educator, I’ll do what I can to ensure that the children in my care get regular exercise and defend recess and physical education if need be. My own children are too young to be in school, but I am aware of their physical development and their need to be climbing and running and to see physical fitness modeled for them.

  37. Kora says:

    These chapters were interesting. I’m sure the youth obesity rate is higher by now. But also thinking of how much these chapters make sense. My daughter only has recess before lunch and P.E. every 3rd day. When she doesn’t have P.E. she has art or music. We used to have P.E. every day and had recess 4 times a day. No wonder the obesity rate is rising. So it was interesting to see how important recess and P.E. are just as important as learning in the classroom.

  38. Bobbie S says:

    chapter 10
    I try to get children to do yoga before the day starts, because it helps children with ADHD and it helps those with out it get ready for the day. I start my day off exercising to gets blood moving and I feel more energy for my day. I do the yoga with the kids to its a great way to strech and its relaxing. I am agreement that phy ed needs to be part of education.
    chapter 14
    Again I agree lets be active, we can go for a walk and learn our abcs. I have a 7 yr old that is on the chuncky side, mom tells me he puked in phy ed cause the teacher tells him to run. Well I had a talk with her about his diet and how he acts here. So together the mom and I came up with a plan and I hope it works so he can be running and not a couch potato! I believe in being blunt with parents of lazy children, and I always say that its us as parents that let it happen. There is no book on being a perfect parent but we should strive to try to be better everyday and show our kids that walking and running and exercise is not a bad thing!
    chapter 15
    Withholding recess has happened forever. I was in trouble I sat at the fence for however long there were time limits, I believe a child should be timed out at school. I think if a child loses 5min of his recess cause he told the teacher to f@#$$#@ off or something, and teacher doesn’t do anything but a phone call home, umm you just showed child hey you can mouth off to a teacher and mom isn’t going to do anything, guess what same child just shot up the hole school. His reason no one will punnish me anyway! Sometimes teachers are our last defense in these parents who should not be parents. I am just stating my opinion!
    Chapter 16
    Phy ed, all but one little couch potato love it. My school has a swimming class and now bowling class part of the year so whatever needs to be done. Get creative and get them moving!

  39. Sue says:

    The mind and body are dependant on each other. Physical activity reduces so many negative diseases and sure frees up my mind to think better. The outside light improves brain activity and reduces tension that will build up by not seeing it. In my daycare gross motor skills require lots of space and so does the childs need for “keep moving”.
    Our children do not walk to school like we did and many children use their free time on the cell phone.

  40. Terri VanHoudt says:

    We live in a small town, so it is a small town atmosphere. As sad as it is, kids that are better at sports get more play time. Even when they are little you can see the teachers leaning toward them. Even as a child it hurts to be picked last. To know that you aren’t as good as the rest. Kids know at very very young age that they don’t match the skills of others. Teachers, coaches, need to work at finding ways to include all when possible at a even playing feel. That will build self-esteem a long way too.

  41. Jessica Kabogoza says:

    My daughter is starting kindergarten in the fall. After reading these chapters I can honestly say it makes me a little nervous to send her to school. The idea of her not getting to get any energy out or talk at lunch really saddens me. It is truly baffling that there are schools and school districts that want to eliminate physical activity. Working in an in home daycare setting I can say with conviction that one of the best ways to get kids to calm down and listen, and take a good rest time is to give them a lot of physical activity and outside time. I would think that more teachers would want to push for children to have an allotted time of vigorous movement throughout the day so that they can better pay attention when they need to. It would seem they could even schedule less in their day because many children are very capable of using their imaginations outdoors and thinking up their own activities. The ones that aren’t gifted in that area can learn, or just simply enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.

  42. Terri VanHoudt says:

    LOL, if i had to suffer through Gym so should they!!! Just kidding, well, really as a child i hated it It wasn’t fun. But now that you look back there was not many Obese kids in school during the 70’s. We did the tennis, basketball, tetherball. We also had the Presidential thing you did every year to win a patch from the President of the United States of America. I don’t even think they do that any more. But, you know what, i never remember being sleepy during the day, or wanting to go home after school and just sit or take a nap. I wanted to go out and Play with the neighborhood friends. How things have changed…we ran our whole block through EVERYONE’S back yard! ( had to be careful of Sonnek’s, low clothesline). We rode bike everywhere, or walked. Would never have thought of asking for a ride.
    technology has made our kids soft. Kids don’t want to work, that work in relation to having things is not happening. Parents buy the kids $800 phones when they are 12 years old. I believe that when a child has to work and be accountable that is embedded in their minds and they take better care of things. Opps little off track.
    Yes, they need recess…it is usually the kids with the diagnosis of ADHD that get it taken away, or the child that just needs that little bit of fidgeting that looses it. They are the ones that need to blow of steam, so they can work longer and better. Even as adults we need to move. When you sit in a class or on a long ride you are tired and you haven’t done anything. Put yourself in those little people position. 8 hours of having to sit still and listen when your body and mind is telling you to get up and go go go…. I knew a Physcologist that is ADHD and put himself through college with a timer. 10 min at a time he did his classwork and studying. Only way he could make it. If that is what a Adult needs to do this. Hard to imagine kids. As a Parent, Teacher, Provider, test yourself and sit at the kitchen table and do math problems or write definitions of words you may not know, and have to look up the old fashion way. Do this for 1/2 hour, make them hard problems where you need to really think and concentrate when your family is living and doing things around you. Maybe that would give them a taste of what a child goes through.

    Chapters 11, 12 Why Does Sitting Still Equal Learning?, In Defense of Active Learning

    In Early childhood they talk about learning while playing. We use a lot of manipulatives to represent numbers when counting. We use every day items things that we see in everyday use or on commutes. This is the same for learning numbers, alphabet or social skills. I would use these as “teachable moments”. Whether it is 2 kids for wanting to use same marker or same doll. Don’t tell them how to solve it, but giving them the opportunity to come up with ideas from questions you ask them. Older kids, i have many times when they come to me say, sit down and figure it out. Talk it out with ideas. At the very last resort i will tell them to google it. If they find something they think will work, i will say, now you need to find out if we have everything you need or do we have something else that might work the same. We did journal’s 1 year when i had a lot of schoolage kids. I told them they could write, color, draw, use anything they wanted in the journal. It went over pretty good. There was only a few times i had to remind them. Had a couple boys, them i had to remind more. Their mindset was it was more a girl thing. I had to remind them, there are men that write movies, artists…etc…
    If i would have had more of a hands on schooling i think i would have enjoyed school more. As a grownup i now love to learn new things. Out of all the classes i had as a child i thought History was dumb. But, know what….i LOVE history now. I read all the history books i can find.

    As far as sitting still, i do have the kids sit to much during activities. It is my quirks that it bugs me when kids are standing or spinning in circles, standing when i am reading. I feel they are not listening, and it distracts the 1 year olds. I think i need to do more movement time in between books. When we do have books with movements, i try and have them do it. If a book has a repeatable rhyme through out the book i will try to have kids repeat the rhyme at appropriate time.

  43. Anna Patnode says:

    Week 7 – 7/28/18
    Reading – chapters 10, 14, 15, and 16
    As a preschool teacher I try and incorporate many opportunities for movement into our class time. During this last year I had a larger class, a few children with strong personalities, and absolutely terrible sub zero temps for way too many months. This combination set us up for many challenges and some I didn’t handle the best as I was trying to teach them in a way they didn’t learn best, fighting against what they needed. I realized this quickly, thankfully, so I was able to make some very needed adjustments to allow for better learning experiences for all the children in my classes. Once we found our groove we were incorporating many movement opportunities into most of our activities. I’m thankful for these chapters as I am even more challenged to be creative in getting kids moving. I am also heartbroken about how most large, public schools handle children and somedays despise my choice to send my children to school. I am thankful for Rae’s points on how to start discussions and communicate importance to parents, teachers, and administration. So many fabulous ideas, I can’t wait to share them.
    As far as the physical education topic my oldest daughters PE experience I believe is a great “case and point” argument about the value of PE. When we lived in MI mn daughter started kindergarten at a school that strongly valued PE and had a wonderful, dedicated teacher. They had PE everyday, my daughter loved it. Every day her favorite part of school would normally include something about PE. (Speaks volumes of the teacher but also the value of PE in general.) During the same school year we moved to MN and began attending a new school. The transitions all went well and school has always been enjoyed but PE quickly slipped to a bottom of the list activity. She was always bummed to have PE as the “specialist” for the day. At first I brushed it off and assumed she’d get used to a different teacher but it never happened that way. She is now in 4th grade and is a very active child but still doesn’t love PE like she used to. I really think this stems from it not being a “daily” thing. When it becomes one of the “fun options” I think it also becomes one to rank and therefore dislike. I bring this story up often in talking with administration and other educators and hope someday PE (and PE teachers! will be given the value it/they deserve.

  44. Nallely says:

    These chapters are very interesting because they show us the way to handle both the brain with the body since it has a lot of relationship because what we order in our brain is what the body does, that is, the mind has the ability to control our body. For the children it is a great skill that they can perform exercises through this dynamic with these activities we stimulate the brain, as well as we work our memory, The experiences and stimuli that the brain receives in the first stages of life, even in the uterine, determine the formation of biological pathways, which not only influence learning and behavior, but integral health throughout the life cycle “” The brain’s response to these experiences allows it to develop very complex functions, among which There are superiors, such as language, cognition, reasoning and behavior. The body is also vitally important since exercise has some very obvious benefits.
    On the one hand are the physical benefits: Increased blood flow to the brain, which will increase the learning capacity, on the other hand, produces a healthier development in the child, improving memory and concentration and creating a positive attitude towards The learning. Children who have the opportunity to run between 15 and 45 minutes before class will be less distracted and improve their ability to concentrate. The school playground (recess) has to be used as a place of learning more. And speaking of moving, should have the necessary options to satisfy the curiosity and interest of children in research, children go to the patio eager to play. Some have an authentic need to express themselves more intensely, running and jumping, to channel their energy. The presence of circuits to run, climb and jump are essential.

  45. Liz says:

    I found all the resources to be very helpful in addressing the importance of physical activity. I believe it is also important to take your cues from the children. We all need a change of pace at times. Remembering to allow for active and quiet times in the day allow children and caregivers time to recharge and engage.

  46. Laura Borchardt says:

    Physical movement is so important for children as well as adults! Of course it seems easier to keep them in their chairs or on the carpet at school. It definitely is not in the long run. I live in Minnesota where it may be hard to get them outside as much in the winter time due to subzero temperatures but we have many movement activities that we can do inside the classroom throughout the day to challenge them physically and help them have fun moving their bodies. It helps them with stress and improves their memories. I am always looking for more ways to use movement as a tool in teaching. If doctors keep telling us as adults that exercise is what can help adults with almost all of their problems why aren’t we providing adequate time for our children to get it during their day too. Gym and recess or movement in class is just as important as the academics we are teaching them.

  47. DeAnna Stowe says:

    Physical activity is crucial in the learning environment. Parents really need to be educated on physical body movement in correlation with the mind in order for them to understand the importance. I can almost guarantee parents will be more opted to say “My child needs recess, do not take away this important time from him/her.” Here is just some of the research i was able to obtain by researching/reading these chapters. Exercise is known to help improve a child’s mood. This can make learning a lot easier for some who struggle with moods. Children who exercise are more focused and less impulsive. Exercise boosts levels of the brain which help promote growth of brain cells. “Hippocampus” is a brain region associated with learning and memory with exercise this area increases in size. Brain research suggests that fit kids are better at filtering out task and focusing on relevant information rather than irrelevant information. Children who struggle with ADHD who exercise tend to be able to self discipline. Exercising also increases the birth of new neurons. Did you know with just 13 weeks of aerobic exercise a child will improve on math skills and increase the activity in the bilateral prefrontal cortex, a brain region associated with executive function?. This is why I am so baffled at some school boards; with all this information why are some schools doing away with physical movement time?

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