Using Movement as a Way of Learning

Did you know that sweat and brute work increases our ability to attend and learn? Learning is an active process that builds on prior knowledge and requires both motivation and cognitive engagement. Humans are always acting and learning from acting, starting at the time we are born. That learning then becomes knowledge about the world in which we live, and the amazing part is that at the base of it all is movement.

Movement cannot be separated from our perception or cognition which are processes that are continually interacting. Our ability to perceive and plan are always in reference to eventual movement and that movement is part of what is being remembered. Eventually, over a lifetime, it is those interactions with the world that build and maintain our cognition.

The connection between movement and learning is undeniable. Evidence from imaging sources, anatomical studies, and clinical data shows that moderate exercise enhances cognitive processing. It turns out that in addition to reducing obesity and the risk of diabetes, physical exertion actually increases the number of brain cells. It’s not surprising then that movement and exercise have even been found to improve classroom behavior, academic performance and social skills. Students who are engaged in daily physical education programs consistently show not just superior motor fitness, but better academic performance and a better attitude toward school than their peers who do not participate in daily physical exercise.

The question then is: Why is movement not used more as a way of learning? If our ability to see, touch, feel, hear, move, and control ourselves in the environment is the accumulated result of knowledge known as cognition, then why are we not using movement to learn?

This summer try something different! Get a stability ball and while sitting on it play games like catch the toy or do “ballrolls” up the wall using the feet, or even some seated trunk rotations.
At Closing the Gaps, we are always looking for ways to help students grow. Motor Labs is a program designed to promote the development of executive function, cognition, and social and academic skills through fun, agility-based exercises.

Motor Labs is designed as a personalized summer camp filled with activities that will reinforce previously learned material while providing hands-on, interactive activities that use intrinsic movements that help with learning skills. The goal is to help children develop the skills necessary for learning readiness and mastery – ANY time spent on motor and sensory integration reinforces the central nervous system’s development promoting the ability to perform the many tasks necessary for academic achievement.