During our work day, how often have we worked on a project and then thought, “I need to get up for awhile?” Often, that quick cup of coffee or stroll around the office is just what the mind and body need to reset for the next task at hand and have a productive day. Children are no different—and while they aren’t making coffee, their movements help them prepare their minds for the next task at hand.
Here at Wellan, we pride ourselves on recognizing that movement in a child’s day is as much a part of their independent work as is language or math. From gathering materials to choosing just the right spot in the classroom to work, our students from Beginners through Voyager are moving. But why is movement so important?
The mind and body have a tremendous connection and as we are learning, the more opportunities the body has to move, the more connections the mind is making to its surroundings, to others, and with its senses. For example, a child might be working steadily on a lengthy project, but then get up for a quick movement activity such as skipping in the hall or even a quick walk to get a drink of water. That child may have opportunities to speak with other children (connect with others), look out the window (activate the senses), or carefully navigate around another child’s work (practice awareness of surroundings). This is incredibly important work even though it might seem to be very simple and part of anyone’s day.
Some children, like adults, need to incorporate more movement in their day than others. With that in mind, our support team assists in movement breaks for those students. Some might work on increasing their core strength, which assists in their stamina to sit through morning meeting. Others simply have extra energy that can occasionally make longer works more challenging. Our new Arts Wing hallway serves as a movement spot for some of those movement breaks. It’s very common to see students playing catch, skipping, jumping, or crawling through tunnels as a way to expend a bit of energy and come back to the classroom refreshed and engaged with their work. Also? Movement is fun! Who doesn’t enjoy fun activities that get your heart going and put a smile on your face.
Many times parents ask our teachers: What can I do with my child for movement—especially in the cold winter months?
Great ways to incorporate movement into your own home include:
Dance parties. Ask your child what music Mr. Steve is playing in the gym. Everyone will be moving and grooving in no time!
Shoveling and snow man building
Fort building with furniture cushions (Bonus points for crawling through the cushions tunnel style)
For the older students, big household chores are very easy ways to incorporate extra movement. Changing bedding, putting away laundry, and carrying in groceries are all great ways to add in a bit of extra activity.