A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics found that 7 and 8 year old students did better in the classroom when lessons were paired with physical activity, to which Principle Lynne Wright at Oakridge Elementary School in Arlington, VA can say, “No duh.” Her classrooms were already turned into mini-gyms, and she reports improvement on things like cooperation, attention span, and overall ability to complete classroom assignments. Something to think about, if those sound like decent qualities to have in a kid.
The school-wide experiment started when one of the school’s mothers became frustrated that before-school exercise and in-school recess and PE classes didn’t even put a dent into her son’s energy. Her research for solutions brought her to Kidsfit, a company that makes movement-based classroom equipment. When the mother approached Principal Wright, she was on board with the idea as long as it would not cost the school anything. With the help of the PTA, Sauve raised $9,000 and purchased as much equipment as possible, that was rotated into each class so every student could get a chance to experience the benefits (so, go ahead and add “sharing” to the list of things in which kids improved).
Though the results at Oakridge might be more anecdotal than the ones published by Pediatrics, the conclusion drawn is the same: children are objects in motion and fare better when they’re allowed to stay that way. If you want your kid to be educated and exhausted enough to go to bed at a decent hour, this confirms that you can have it all. Convincing other parents to throw money at it won’t be as easy as riding a stationary bike, but Kidsfit is helps schools secure grants and government funding as well. With any luck, you’ll be struggling to keep up with your kid mentally and physically in no time.