Especially for Parents: Keep Children Moving

A recent article from Community Playthings entitled, “In Defense of Active Learning” describes how physical movement supports learning in all areas of development. Children are better able to understand new vocabulary words that they can act out through movement. They learn scientific and mathematical concepts by using their bodies to balance, jump, add, and subtract. It’s important to note that studies show children learn more effectively as physically active learners because they are able to put these concepts into a meaningful context.

Another area being studied is the correlation between movement and mental health in young children. With academic learning being pushed into the early elementary years of schooling and less time dedicated to play and physical activity, teachers are seeing more incidents of behavioral disorders. At EFC, we believe that policymakers need to rethink how the daily schedule is affecting young children and ensure that physical activity is still an important component of the learning experience. As a recent article in the early childhood education magazine Exchange notes,

“The best results occur when physical activity takes place every day in an outdoor environment, as these have the strongest correlations with positive mental health outcomes.”

For the first time, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a statement in November regarding children ages 3-5, recommending that they should be “active throughout the day.”

And while adult-directed physical activities are beneficial, “unscripted or solo free-play is also important. When they’re not responding to outward stimuli and instructions from their coaches or friends, kids are better able to tune in to their own imaginations. And according to recent studies, daydreaming is both a marker of intelligence and a conduit to greater creativity.” (How the Outdoors Makes Your Kids Smarter, Outside Magazine).

It is clear that children require and benefit from physical movement for their growth and development in all areas. As caregivers and parents, we need to consider how we make room within the structure of our lives and environments for extended periods during which children can run, jump, roll, climb, spin, and move.

 

Angie Williams
Director of Finance and Marketing

Additional Resources:

Mental Health Benefits of Exercise in Children, Psychiatric Times