As I think back to the time when I was in kindergarten, I realize how much has changed. What was once naptime, coloring, painting, and running around the playground at recess, is now a place for reading, writing, sitting still in your chair and an introduction to math facts.
Even preschool now more focused on academics and many of them tailor their lesson plans to higher learning subjects that normally wouldn’t begin until kindergarten or first grade.
While this push for greater academic achievement is good in theory, we are now seeing digression, even negative consequences in our students’ learning capability because their development is being pushed too far too fast. A child’s motor planning (jumping, bouncing running), auditory (retaining letters and sounds, listening to the teacher), and sensory input (behavior, focus, attention), and organizational skills used for math, in many cases is now suffering because we did not allow our children adequate time to develop these critical milestones used for helping the left and right sides of the brain work together.
As I read the above article I began to reflect on my own child and his struggle with reading. 7 years ago my husband and I were blessed with an amazing baby boy. Cameron was the center of our world. At the time Cameron was born I was working as a Reading Specialist. I knew how important early literacy was and we began reading to Cameron while I was still pregnant. Cameron was born 8.2lbs 22 inches long. We read to him every night. Cameron was a strong baby who could not wait to walk. He did everything early, walk, talk and get teeth. We were so proud! Fast forward to kindergarten, Cameron was beginning to read and enjoy books. Then first grade, the struggle began! He was not progressing as fast as other kids and was put into a reading intervention program. I was devastated what had I done wrong. Why was he not making gains like the other kids? I began to do Reading Recovery with him at home and that following summer. We were going to get him up to grade level. Second grade began, he worked with an amazing reading specialist again. Cameron loved Mrs. Fleck, and his teacher. He was making great gain. Cameron loved to be active, he enjoyed wrestling, football, and swimming. Often after he would exercise he would complain about his hips hurting him. My husband, an NSCA Certified Strenght and Conditioning coach would spend hours stretching Cameron. We sought the advice of a wonderful chiropractor, Dr. Erin. Dr. Erin did an evaluation on Cameron. During her evaluation, she asked about when Cameron met his developmental milestones. I shared that Cameron was an early walker. She began sharing with me important brain research on training both sides of our brain. She stressed this begins very early and Cameron we needed to stress crossbody activities to help him make these important reading, writing and math connections.
I currently am an elementary principal and have see the importance of activity for our young learners. I plan to implement crossbody activities into our classroom on a daily basis. We have begun to brainstorm ways we can stream these activities into our classroom three times a day. We broadcast our school announcements via our Star 19 news. All the students tune in at 8:35 to hear the news for the day. I think I’ll try adding some cross body exercises into our lineup.
Through our struggle to get ahead I think we have forgotten that children need to move and engage in their learning environment. Let’s get our children moving again. How are other school getting their students more activity? Thoughts and ideas always welcome.
Commit to be fit!