If you have some time, we highly recommend you bookmark and read this piece from The Atlantic, which talks about why movement is important for kids. We believe in this philsophy wholeheartedly at Elements, and our kids learn everything from soccer to yoga to krav maga, apart from getting lots of time and space for unstructured play.
As Vanessa Durand, a pediatrician at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, says, freedom of movement is necessary for children to meet their developmental milestones: “Children learn by experiencing their world using all of their senses. The restriction of movement, especially at a young age, impedes the experiential learning process.”
Movement allows children to connect concepts to action and to learn through trial and error. “If you walk into a good kindergarten class, everyone is moving. The teacher is moving. There are structured activities, but generally it is about purposeful movement,”comments Nancy Carlsson-Paige, a professor emerita of early-childhood education at Lesley University and the author of Taking Back Childhood, describing the ideal classroom setup. In the classroom culture she advocates for, “[Kids] are getting materials for an activity, they are going back and deciding what else they need for what they want to create, seeing how the shape of a block in relation to another block works, whether they need more, does it balance, does it need to be higher, is it symmetrical. All of these math concepts are unfolding while kids are actively building and moving.”
Research has shown time and again that children need opportunities to move in class. Memory and movement are linked, and the body is a tool of learning, not a roadblock to or a detour away from it.