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Information from - "More Movement – Smarter Kids"

Carla Hannaford, in Smart Moves: Why Learning Is Not All in Your Head, states, “We have spent years and resources struggling to teach people to learn, and yet the standardized achievement test scores go down and illiteracy rises. Could it be that one of the key elements we’ve been missing is simply movement?”

Thanks to advances in brain research, we now know that most of the brain is activated during physical activity – much more so than when doing seatwork.. In fact, according to Jensen, sitting for more than 10 minutes at a stretch “reduces our awareness of physical and emotional sensations and increases fatigue.” Movement, on the other hand, increases blood vessels that allow for the delivery of oxygen, water, and glucose (“brain food”) to the brain. And this can’t help but optimize the brain’s performance!

A Canadian study demonstrated children participating in five hours of vigorous physical activity a week had stronger academic performance in math, English, natural sciences, and French than did children with only two hours of physical activity per week.

A study of third-grade children participating in dance activities improved their reading skills by 13 percent over six months, while their peers, who were sedentary, showed a decrease of two percent.

Children who participate in daily physical education have been shown to perform better academically and to have a better attitude toward school. A study conducted by neurophysiologist Carla Hannaford determined that children who spent an extra hour a day exercising did better on exams than students who didn’t exercise.

Recent research demonstrates a direct link between fitness and intelligence, particularly in children under 16 and in the elderly.

Brain Research Supporting Moving and Learning

·         Music, rhythm, repetitive practice of patterns … using balance and eye-tracking are all powerful tools for physical and mental learning. (Sluming)

·         To improve our brains, we have to move our bodies… Exercises involving learning a series of complex movements while coordinating one’s balance have been proven to generate a greater number of connections between neurons. These connections make it easier for children of all ages to learn. (Ratey, 2001)

·         Brain-compatible learning means that educators should weave math, movement, geography, social skills, role play, science, and recreational music making together. (Abraham, 1997)

·         Repetitive gross motor movement balances brain chemicals that calm behavior and elevates self esteem and self worth and accommodates ADD/ADHD. (Jensen)

·         Exercise triggers BDNF that increases neuronal communication. (Squires)What makes us move is also what makes us think. (Hesslow