Monday, November 3, 2014

Getting kids to sit still

I love the things that neuroscience re-teaches us.  In this great article called The right- and surprisingly wrong - ways to get children to sit still in class we learn that the ways at Parker that we get children to "sit still" are supported by science.

We have lots of recess every day.  It's outside, unless it's raining.  Kids roll down hills, explore in the woods, and are determined to master the monkey bars.  (As it turns out, running around, rolling down hills, and hanging upside down are essential activities for stimulating the inner ear - leading to development of balance.)

There's Muddy Boots Club, too, and sled-riding in winter.  We have 2,000 Steps for middle school - a time in the morning for walking and talking - recess, and an outdoor "brain break" every afternoon.

Founder of TimberNook, a nature-based development program, Angela Hanscom says, "All (that's) needed is time and practice to play with peers in the woods – in order to foster emotional, physical, and social development."

It is interesting that the things that children do naturally - rolling down hills, building giant block structures, or lying upside down on the furniture - are almost absent in traditional school settings.  By giving children time to do what they love, they can much better do what we adults need them to do (for at least a little part of the day) - sit still.

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