I know that I am lucky to have a job that involves a lot of movement. I don’t think I could sit all day long behind a desk with my eyes, brain and hands focused on a keyboard and screen. I don’t mind spending some time each day at these tasks but for 8-9 hours at a time I think I would explode. So why are we increasingly asking our children to do this?
Last week the Washington Post Kids Section, https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/kidspost/second-grade-students-ditch-their-desks/2016/05/03/45f41d9e-0d4c-11e6-8ab8-9ad050f76d7d_story.html
had a wonderful article on a second grade class at Tokoma Park Elementary that voted to get rid of their desks in favor of what is becoming increasingly known as the kinesthetic learning experience. In this case the class is using BOSU (both sides up) balls in leu of tables/desks and chairs. BOSU balls have a firm flat side and a half dome side that allows for extra movement and wiggling. BOSU balls can be dragged and rolled from one side of the room to the other to allow for flexible seating required for circle time or taken to a corner of the room for quiet activities such as reading or writing. Children can sit or lay over the top of either surface on their tummies while reading, writing or listening to instruction. The teachers have also provided stand up tables, yoga balls, balance boards and other forms of alternative sitting arrangements.
Recent research suggests that movement and exercise enhance attention, learning and memory. News reports from the fields of medicine and health report that most of us are entirely too sedentary. Many children in early elementary grades are not ready for the demands of sitting and taking in information for long periods of time. I would never be a proponent of getting rid of recess or physical education but the reality is that in many schools that is exactly what is happening in order to fit in the required curriculum. Providing an adapted classroom that allows for extra movement all day long may be a possible solution to the problem. Second grade teacher, Charlotte Croft, states that the children in her class are required to learn the same curriculum as the other second grade classrooms and test results will be closely monitored. I for one, look forward to hearing the results of this wonderful experiment!