Over the past few weeks, I’ve been fortunate enough to participate in a number of teacher’s conferences and have also had the privilege of listening to the brilliant Dr. Dieter Breithecker share his renowned presentation titled “Bodies in Motion, Brains in Motion”. Through it all I’ve learned so much about the connection between movement and learning and just how important it is for our kids to have the ability to wiggle and jiggle in the classroom. I also came to realize that our children are in the hands of some pretty special and amazing educators, many of whom are continually exploring to find that any new one thing which they can incorporate in to their classroom for the betterment of their students. Some teachers are so passionate that they are willing to invest their own money if it means equipping their students with unique tools to become even more successful. The well being of the students was continually at the forefront of all of the conversations I was a lucky enough to be a part of.
The static seating and desking solutions that most of us grew up with and are accustomed to can no longer continue to be the solution for todays classroom. Sure it’s always easier to order more of the same, and the old analogy of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” can be a tough mold to crack. But let’s face it…..it’s broken. As Dr. Breithecker says in his presentation, in many cases, the classroom furniture that our kids sit in day in and day out should be considered “child abuse”. Environments that in an office setting would be considered completely unacceptable. Yet our kids, of all shapes and sizes, are forced into single sized fixed seating and desking solutions that don’t allow for proper movement, cut off blood flow and turn off brains. The studies and connections between movement and focus/learning are many. Physical movements lead to an increased oxygen supply which is essential for stimulating learning. When students are physically engaged, specific hormones are released that have a positive influence on brain activity. As a result, attention spans grow longer, and the ability to concentrate improves. Research proves that this relationship between movement and brain activity leads to better academic results. All kids are unique, and all kids learn in different ways, but all kids need to and deserve to have the ability to move.
Classrooms are slowly starting to evolve and the connection between movement and learning is now embraced more than ever. This is an amazingly positive thing and one that I as a father of young ones am very excited about and will be paying very close attention to as I begin to weigh my decision when it comes to deciding which school I will be sending my kids to.