I used to be that teacher who would let the children stay in class during break time to catch up on their work.
To complete the syllabus, it was simply work, work, work and work some more. I have heard from parents who bemoan the fact that their children are so busy with homework that they spend hours and hours sitting at their desks, becoming ever more frustrated and frazzled. And that frustratedness and frazzledness do not pertain to the children alone!
With hindsight, I had forgotten how fidgety I had been during my school years maaaaany years ago and how I would daydream and doodle and wish that the dreariness would pass. How I looked forward to break time and Phys Ed (even though I was no good at it), just so that I could move. I now realise that as a teacher, I had noticed those fidgety children but had not said….”Let’s go out for 10 minutes to run!” because I had been worried about completing ALL THE WORK ON TIME.
Now, with tutoring, we have made movement, games and fun the core of our teaching. If the children concentrate really hard and they feel that their brains are tired, they would self regulate and say: “May we skip now please?”
In her research, Wendy Suzuki found that a single workout can improve a student’s ability to focus on a task for up to two hours!
This is what she says about the astounding benefits of frequent breaks for children….
- It rejuvenates brain activity and enhances both the mood and the ability to pay attention.
- Exercise supports our ability to think creatively, make decisions, focus and retrieve key information.
When you cut down on the children’s breaks, you are removing time that they could run around AND….
- when they run around, their brains are getting a bubble bath of good neurochemicals, neurotransmitters and endorphins.
- All of these help memory and mood.
Wendy Suzuki points to a program called The Daily Mile, an initiative that started at an elementary school in Scotland. Teachers take their students for a 15-minute walk or run every day. The aim is to help children become “fitter, healthier, and more able to concentrate in the classroom.”
Deborah Farmer Kris https://www.kqed.org/mindshift/53681/how-movement-and-exercise-help-kids-learn
Also, Finnish educators report that their children are more focused and ready to learn from the frequent breaks of 15 mins per 45 minutes of instruction. https://ecochildsplay.com/2018/04/08/more-recess-more-focus-15-minutes-per-45-of-instruction/
At WordSense, we use skipping as a way to exercise. This is primarily because we cannot lug around heavy equipment and we do not need too much space to skip…..unless we are racing.
Some rules …