Klea Scharberg

Keep Kids Moving and Motivated to Learn

By the time students graduate from high school, they have spent thousands of hours in a classroom, most likely sitting. That's a lot of sitting. Integrating movement and physical activity in the classroom and across the school day gives children's bodies and minds the exercise they need to fuel the brain with oxygen, creates enthusiasm and energy, and maximizes learning during academic lessons.

Although most educators will agree that daily physical activity is important, the current focus on standardized testing and the lack of time and infrastructure make implementing classroom-based movement difficult. Another barrier is that students not sitting still and listening are thought to be off task, though research shows that being active in the classroom improves on-task behavior (PDF) and can serve as a necessary break (PDF) from complex or challenging learning activities.

We know that to learn at their best, students must be healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. Physical activity in the classroom helps activate the brain, increases positive behavior, reinforces academic concepts, and helps keep kids healthy.

Join us throughout November as we take a look at new ways to encourage movement and how schools are bringing physical activity out of the gym and into the classroom. Listen to this month's Whole Child Podcast, featuring Jill Vialet, CEO and founder of whole child partner Playworks, a nonprofit organization that sends coordinators into schools where they transform recess and play into positive experiences that help kids and teachers get the most out of every learning opportunity throughout the school day; Michael Opitz, author of Literacy Lessons to Help Kids Get Fit & Healthy, in which he shares secrets for combining literacy-rich, ready-to-use lessons with easy-to-implement fitness exercises; and Andria Caruthers, a principal at West Education Campus in Washington, D.C., where she motivates students to succeed by focusing on academics and the well-being of the total body. Read the Whole Child Blog to hear from guest bloggers, and dive deeper into the latest research, reports, and tools on the integrating movement topic page.

Have you signed up to receive the Whole Child Newsletter? Read this month's newsletter and visit the archive for more strategies, resources, and tools you can use to help ensure that each child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.

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