For many elementary-school students, the bums-on-seats approach to education can actually hinder learning. They can put so much effort into trying not to fidget or get up and wander the classroom that they’ve no attention left to give to spelling or long division. We love this elementary school in Repentigny, Que., for actually understanding kids who struggle to sit still.
L’école de la Paix secured school-board funding to buy colourful floor tape late last year. Phys. Ed. teacher Maude-Elizabeth Dubois then consulted with her colleagues in learning support and occupational therapy to come up with a design for a super-parcours moteur, which translates roughly as a super movement circuit.
Since November 2017, she has been laying tape in the hallways and making adjustments based on student feedback, so that antsy kids can leave class to hop, skip, jump and tippy-toe their way around an obstacle course-meets-giant hopscotch board that stimulates both body and brain.
When educators know certain students in their class would benefit from movement breaks, they can have those kids scheduled to leave class at a certain time each day and complete the super movement circuit. It’s a preventative measure, geared towards improving focus and nipping disruptive behaviour in the bud. And all students in the school can use the circuit from time to time, to ground them on days when they’re feeling hyped up, anxious or overstimulated in class.
It might all seem like fun and games, but there’s compelling scientific evidence that kinetic activities of this type really boost learning. A 2017 New York Times article entitled “Why Kids Shouldn’t Sit Still in Class,” states:
"A 2013 report from the Institute of Medicine concluded that children who are more active 'show greater attention, have faster cognitive processing speed and perform better on standardized academic tests than children who are less active.' And a study released in January by Lund University in Sweden shows that students, especially boys, who had daily physical education, did better in school."
We love this super-creative—and super-inexpensive—way to get kids moving more. And this antsy office worker hopes it will catch on in the workplace too!