Greetings cutting-edge teachers and parents. I want to direct your attention to a current issue that is sweeping the Facebook and Twitter community… MOVEMENT in schools. Ask any teacher about their kids moving in the classroom, and most will let you know how kids can’t sit still anymore, and how disruptive it is. Now, does that sound like a positive child-based approach to the situation? NO!
Strauss, (2014) States that”children are constantly in an upright position these days. It is rare to find children rolling down hills, climbing trees, and spinning in circles just for fun. Merry-go-rounds and teeter-totters are a thing of the past. Recess times have shortened due to increasing educational demands, and children rarely play outdoors due to parental fears, liability issues, and the hectic schedules of modern-day society. Lets face it: Children are not nearly moving enough, and it is really starting to become a problem.”
Here is the link to the full article: Why can’t kids sit still
So, can you identify the issue? I can! Children are being asked to sit in “an upright position (Strauss, 2014)” for too much of the day and not given the correct form of physical activity. The playgrounds designed today are not the same as they used to be. Here are two playgrounds, can you guess which one is from the 1980’s and which one is from today?
First, the major difference I have noticed is the amount of kids in one area. Current playgrounds condense kids into one single structure. This causes more incidences of injury and therefore rules that make play more like etiquette lessons.
Second, the type of equipment being used is limited. I don’t mean limited in the sense that there isn’t enough of it, but in the limitations on body movement it gives to the kids.
Here are articles about what kids need to be able to do with their bodies in able to form a sense of self and controll:
In one article, Fromberg states that play is the “ultimate integrator of human experience” and”When children play, they use fine and gross motor skills; they problem solve to think about what they are doing or are going to do, they use language to communicate to themselves and friends and respond to a variety of emotions. All of these factors combine to integrate and enhance the development of the cognitive experience (Nachmanovitch, S. 1990, p. 42).”
Do you see these things happening on YOUR playground?
We are so wrapped up in our worlds of everything being top-notch safe, that we have stripped children of the very things they need to be successful.
So, you may be asking “what can we do about it?”
Movement based centers can help with certain motor movements:
You can grab a free set of Motor movement cards here:
My kids will complete addition, subtraction and skip counting activities and the answer is completed by doing the exercise that they draw a card for. The cards include mid-line crossing, spinning etc… that help to develop gross motor skills.
I also have these in my classroom:
My kids get to place them anywhere they wish in the room and travel to and from activities on them.
I have 2 of these spinning chairs, which I picked them up from a thrift store.
I also have flexible seating which allows my kids the freedom to bounce, rock and spin:
So, before you tell your kids to focus, pay attention and sit still PLEASE consider giving them ways to do this. Without proper movement experiences, kids can’t give you 100%.