Movement is very, very important for learning. Why?
Movement nourishes the brain with oxygen. The brain is electrical. To function properly, it needs two things: water and oxygen. Movement increases the intake of breath, which provides fresh oxygen to the brain. Children who move while they learn to retain the information better because the data moves through the electrical currents smoothly.
Movement provides energy. The brain produces endorphins -- a neurochemical that causes excitement and increased energy, which makes the brain more receptive to learn. Simply put, a happy child learns more when excited and inspired.
Movement and rhythm are vital for language development. Exercise stimulates the frontal lobes, which is very important in language development. The key window for development of the frontal lobes--through movement--is between the ages of two and six. When children are allowed to freely move during this time, it affects their lifelong communication skills.
Movement balances the hemispheres. The right hemisphere is connected neurologically to the left side of the body. The left hemisphere is connected neurologically to the right side of the body. When we move both side sides--through crawling, walking, swimming, or any other activity that uses both sides of the body--the hemispheres connect and communicate with each other. They synchronize. They harmonize. This makes for a healthy, whole brain.
Movement makes strong memories. The rate of conscious absorption for children watching a lesson only is about 20%. The rate of conscious absorption for children viewing a lesson while moving is about 80%. Please note: The subconscious absorption is always assumed to be 100%. What is measured here is the "conscious" understanding and use of the material. When a child is moving, the information is recorded in more areas of the brain.
Movement HEALS brain tissue. The brain has a remarkable ability to heal itself. Whether it is the increased oxygen or neurochemicals, brain growth and repair is greatly accelerated when children move. These are not empty words. We have seen children and adults with severe brain injuries heal in percentages great and small by simply adding movement to their learning ritual.
FROM A TWEEDLEWINK TEACHER:
“I worked with a baby who was born prematurely and deprived of oxygen during birth. He couldn’t crawl at 10 months, so his mother and I lovingly exercised his legs and arms and made them move in a cross-pattern crawling movement while he laid on his back. Weeks after doing this routinely 2 or 3 times a day, he was off and moving on his own and his language abilities noticeably improved.”
FROM A MOTHER:
"My daughter had seizures at 8 months of age. I could see that her eyes were glazed over after each episode. I used the cross-pattern exercises--playing patty cake with her--until I could see her eyes grow clear and meet mine in a direct gaze. She is now in elementary school and her seizures are behind her. Her brain activity is considered "normal to gifted." I will always be grateful to know about infant movement exercises. They really changed her life."
GET STARTED NOW!
So, now that you know that movement is important--please be okay with your little one moving around your classroom or home. In fact, move a daily ritual… and include the whole family! Here's what you can do.
For young infants and toddlers (and brain-injured older children), you might need a little help to get started.
CROSS PATTERN - PATTYCAKE