The evidence is there; movement supports the cognitive abilities of children.
The majority of schools still apply the standard practice of lecture-based curriculum which suppress movement in the classroom. The elementary school where my Tiny Dancer attends is unique where it has started to implement the 21st century learning style of furniture in the classrooms. This has been so helpful to many students.
Cognition and movement are connected in many ways, especially for children. Children with learning differences also seem to have a much easier time learning when they incorporate movement with their lessons, whether as a way to work off excess energy or as a way to train their memory with specific actions.
When you move your body, you’re activating a specific area of your brain: the cerebellum. The cerebellum is fundamentally linked to the rest of your brain, making it easier to activate other parts when you’re actively moving. Now, active games and movements help stimulate the brain, increase the blood flow and puts the children in a better mood to learn. There’s tons of evidence to suggest that movement based classes raises dexterity, reading, fluency, and grades on standardized tests of reading, writing and comprehension.
If you’re looking for ways to improve movement based learning for your children, then consider the following (whether you’re a teacher or parent going through the after-school-homework):
Drama and role-playing – Acting out the plays you’re reading, doing charades and such will help your children become more involved in the lesson.
Energizing Activities – If they’re overly restless, let them up to play a game of Simon Says, or have them bounce a tennis ball from one hand to the other for a few minutes. Just have them move.
Stretching – Open your class with stretching. It gets the blood flowing and gets the class into a relaxed mode.
PE and Recess – Don’t let the kids skip out of these activities and especially don’t let the school remove them from the day.
Be sure that you’re active in the school so that these programs won’t be cut from your school’s curriculum. Good luck!