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  • Sarina Shirazee

Kids aren't meant to sit still

I receive so many referrals from teachers because students can't sit still. They wriggle all over the mat and can't keep their hands to themselves. They often get up out of their chair or approach the teacher for seemingly pointless reasons. They lie on the floor instead of sitting with their legs crossed.⠀

This is often mistaken as a sensory or attention-related issue, when a lot of the time, it is simply children being children. They are meant to move and they learn better when they do. ⠀

One particular study from 2016 involving 500 Grade 2 and 3 children in the Netherlands, found that those who learned in physically active classes tested better academically than kids who sat at their desks.⠀

Here are some ideas for increasing movement in the classroom:⠀

• Schedule movement breaks at least every 15 minutes, considering the time of day as to whether the movement will be more active (e.g. animal walks, star jumps, running, hand exercises) or calming (e.g. yoga, stretching)⠀

• Have students act out concepts they are learning or combine concepts with actions, (e.g. punch the air for each letter in a sight word, jump for each item counted in a maths problem)⠀

• Give kids a movement to complete when transitioning from one activity to the next, e.g. march, jump, hop, skip⠀

• Allow individual kids who seem to be having trouble concentrating to get up and move around, e.g. deliver a message to the front office or collect lunches from canteen⠀

• Complete classroom chores like sharpening pencils, wiping the board or stacking chairs⠀

• Provide different seating options, e.g. wobble stools, fit balls, beanbag chairs, lying on the floor, standing up at a desk⠀

• Moving the mouth counts - allow kids to eat when they are hungry (not just at set break times!)⠀

Letting kids move in class isn't a break from learning, it IS learning.


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