Children need to MOVE!!!

3 Jul

Reading the Oxford Magazine for Infant and Pre-Primary I found this great article about why our pupils move so much inside the classroom and I totally agree with it.

Sometimes children make teachers go crazy with their excitement and nerves. If you don’t know why this happen, here you can find out why. Enjoy 🙂


Think back to your childhood. Was most of your free time spent in front of a screen or with a tablet or phone in hand, or was free time often spent rolling down hills, climbing trees and playing outdoor games? What about when you observe kids today? Is there as much active play-time as before?

In today’s schools, break time is oftentimes shortened to fit in with modern educational demands.  On top of this, parents are cautious about kids playing outside alone in case something happens. Hence, children nowadays are moving a lot less than they did in the past.

When observing young learning classrooms around the world it is sometimes surprising to find teachers who forewarn observers that their young learners are terribly restless and that they refuse to sit still. However, when visiting the lesson, quite often little ones are expected to stay in one place with no physical movement for long periods of time which, of course, is unnatural and practically impossible for many of them.

When children are not allowed or encouraged to channel their energy in or out of class it does, inevitably, lead to restless, fidgety kids who will do things like drop their pencil ten times or poke their partners just to slip a bit of movement into their lives. Although some children have diagnosed behavioural problems or attention deficit, not every child who fidgets or has trouble paying attention has a medical problem. For some children they are simply not moving enough in our out of lessons or are being expected to sit still for periods of time that do not correspond with their developmental stages.

Research has shown that, in fact, children need physical activity and movement to learn. Arthur Kramer from the University of Illinois carried out a study on 9- and 10-year-olds and discovered that “regular physical activity can influence both, brain structure and function in children.”  Dr. John Ratey also verifies that physical exercise helps learning. In fact, he claims that when the body is in movement a protein is produced that “helps build nerve-cell connections” which makes learning easier and allows for greater retention.

In Finnish schools, the idea of having ‘down time’ is something built into their school days. After 45 minutes of classes both students and teachers have a 15-minute break to unwind and recharge. This might not be feasible in all countries but expecting children to attend school 6-7 hours a day with less than an hour to relax and let off steam is something that can and will lead to behavioural problems and restlessness in class.

Squirming youngsters in class is a real challenge for teachers on a daily basis. It’s vital to keep in mind that little ones need hours of? outdoor, active play and guided movement in class to increase attention and learning.  As Albert Einstein said, “Combinatory play seems to be the essential feature in productive thought”. So, don’t be afraid to allow time to play.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: