Picture this – you’ve had a busy day and are hungry. You know your body needs a quality meal. You have a few options on how to get to your favorite dining spot. You can walk, run, ride your bike, or get in your car and drive. Obviously, walking will take the longest, and you will be more hungry and more worn down by the time you get to the restaurant. Driving gets you there faster, allowing you to get that delicious and nourishing meal more quickly.
Your brain works much the same way. In order to function optimally, your brain needs glucose (sugar) and oxygen. The only way to get those to your brain is through your blood. Blood circulates through your body thanks to our wonderful heart. When you sit around for long periods of time, your heart is at its resting rate, meaning your blood is circulating at a slower pace. When you get up and move, your heart beats faster causing your blood to circulate faster, which allows more glucose and oxygen to get to your brain faster than when you are sitting.
your brain in a traditional classroom
Keeping in mind that our brains function optimally when we move and more blood is circulating, stick with me and think about what a traditional classroom environment looks like.
- Here is what I remember about school:
- Kids are sitting at desks listening.
- Hands are raised to answer a question or participate in the discussion.
- Kids are ‘focusing’ on busy work.
Now, think about how a student’s brain in that specific classroom is working:
- The brain is working really hard to listen, process, write, and learn.
- That brain is not working at the highest capacity because of all of the sitting.
- The heart is at a resting rate which means the blood is not getting the nutrients to the brain fast enough.
an optimal learning environment
In contrast to that traditional classroom, think now about what an optimal learning environment would look like:
Students would begin class with some sort of movement to get the heart rate up and the blood flowing. This could be jumping jacks, skipping, turning around in circles, or dancing around the classroom to some music.
Instead of raising their hand to answer a question, students would stand up to indicate to the teacher they know the answer or want to speak.
When called on, they step up on their chair to respond.
During class, another movement break happens to get that blood flowing again.
Nothing makes me happier than to share that these are all scenes you can find in our preschool classroom.
backed by science
Each part of a Kids 360° student’s day has been thought through and is based on the science we have studied. Knowing about how our brains work best, we weave movement into the day and give little brains a really big boost.
“Physical activity is cognitive candy!” states Dr. John Medina. Exercise increases the amount of BDNF, Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, in your brain. This is the equivalent of Miracle Grow for your brain! It keeps neurons young and healthy and encourages the formation of new cells in your brain. (Check out Dr. Medina’s great book here.)
And while this Miracle Grow works at all stages of our lives, (we adults benefit from an early morning workout to start the day or a mid-day walk to spark our creativity), scientists also believe there are windows of opportunity for this brain growth with one being early childhood.
In this article we love, we learn that “the ability of the brain to develop and maintain neural connections is based on new movement and play experiences of young children(Choosy Kids, IMIL 2016). Brain cell connections are lost or pruned away as a result of limited activity or stimulation. “Move it or lose it” is true for both children and adults.”
Our kids – and their brains – need to move. They need it not only for their physical well-being but also for their cognitive well-being. Paired with learning experiences and academic instruction from exceptional teachers, our movement-based curriculum is giving preschoolers the very best foundation for lifelong learning.
See how kids boost their brain power at Kids 360° Early Learning Academy by scheduling a tour or attending our next open house.