Physical development is a key ingredient for establishing a strong foundation for learning and is typically an important step in preparing the brain for a higher level of academic achievement. Physical education can strengthen a child’s gross and fine motor development to prepare a student’s body and mind for reading, writing, arithmetic, speech, and other higher learning functions. To read and write well, students not only need good control of language, but good control of the body.
Like a block tower, all learning depends on the readiness of the foundation. In some cases, the brain isn’t adequately developed yet to begin learning the skills that schools and parents would like. Safe, easy, and enjoyable exercises such as balancing, swinging, rotating, throwing, and catching can make the body an instrument for learning.
Through movement-based programs, parents and therapists may see rapid and oftentimes dramatic improvements in the following areas:
- Brain Development
For your child to learn and grow academically, it’s important to know how the brain works and functions so we can foster learning. The goal of movement-based programs is to create an environment that enhances processing in the brain and improves the student’s ability to learn in the classroom, process what the teacher says, build relationships, and prepare the brain for higher levels of academic requirements. The more finely tuned the brain is, the more efficiently students process information.
As you may know or have read, the brain uses both the left and right sides for creativity, to read more efficiently, solve problems, study homework, retain facts, and much more. Incorporating movement into daily activities may train the brain to improve in the following ways:
- Read faster and more accurately
- Comprehend what was read
- Improve eye tracking
- Increase memory span
- Enhance performance in sports and physical activities
- Behavior and Attention
When children first enter school, it is generally assumed they can sit still, pay attention, hold a pencil, and follow the words on a page while reading. If you have a child that is experiencing learning or behavioral challenges, they do not simply “grow out” of them as they get older. The challenges may alter and improve as the child learns to compensate in other ways, but the weakness is only made into a strength when focusing on the core issue.
As you use movement to develop proper head control, muscle tone, strength, and posture, students may begin to improve in balance, coordination, attention, and behavior at school and with friends.
- Reading and Spelling
Reading and writing depends largely on eye movements and hand-eye coordination exercises where students can develop the basic skills of reading and writing. As a result, physical-movement programs may help students recognize sight words, visually track words on a page, and comprehend what they have read.
Students that have lower level motor skills or are diagnosed with dyslexia may benefit from physical literacy programs as a way to eliminate learning blocks and expose the brain to a higher level of development.