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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Move to learn

Image result for children monkey bars

Kids are spending too much time sitting indoors writes Angela Hanscom, a pediatric occupational therapist, in the Washington Post‘s Answer Sheet. When they do go outside to play, a misplaced concern for safety keeps them from getting the benefits of active play.

“We have monkey bars, but we aren’t allowed to go upside down on them,” a boy told her. They think we are going to hurt ourselves.”

Other children said they “weren’t permitted to swing on their bellies or spin in circles, for fear they may get dizzy,” writes Hanscom.

An 8-year-old girl said, “We have woods, but can’t go anywhere near them. It’s too dangerous.”  . . One 7-year-old girl said, “When it snows, we can’t touch it with our foot, or we have to stand by the teacher for the rest of recess.”

“Elementary children need at least three hours of active free play a day to maintain good health and wellness,” Hanscom writes. If they don’t get it, they’re aggressive and awkward at recess and inattentive in class.

 (Therapists) encourage children to go upside down, to jump off objects, to climb to new heights and spin in circles to give them a better sense of body awareness. (This) supports good body awareness, attention and emotional regulation. These skills are fundamental to learning in the classroom.

Hanscom is the author of Balanced and Barefoot.

Boys need to move to learn, writes Bill Murphy, Jr. in Inc.

News flash: Most boys are rambunctious. Often they seem like they’re in a constant state of motion: running, jumping, fighting, playing, getting hurt — maybe getting upset — and getting right back into the physical action. Except at school, where they’re required to sit still for long periods of time. (And when they fail to stay still, how are they punished? Often by being forced to skip recess–and thus they sit still longer.)

Finnish researchers have found that “moderate to vigorous physical activity correlates to boys’ reading and math skills, reports Belinda Luscombe in Time.  The more time first-grade boys “spent sitting and the less time they spent being physically active, the fewer gains they made in reading in the two following years,” the study found. Inactivity “also had a negative impact on their ability to do math.”

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