In our Montessori curriculum for parents teaching at home, we discuss the need for vigorous physical activity as part of the regular day. Today, a great article came out in the New York Times online edition, Phys Ed: Can Exercise Make Kids Smarter? by Gretchen Reynolds.
Basically, physical exercise builds better and stronger brains!
Here are some select quotes:
"...fit children had significantly larger basal ganglia, a key part of the brain that aids in maintaining attention and “executive control,” or the ability to coordinate actions and thoughts crisply."
And, "Meanwhile, in a separate, newly completed study by many of the same researchers at the University of Illinois, a second group of 9- and 10-year-old children were also categorized by fitness levels and had their brains scanned, but they completed different tests, this time focusing on complex memory. Such thinking is associated with activity in the hippocampus, a structure in the brain’s medial temporal lobes. Sure enough, the M.R.I. scans revealed that the fittest children had heftier hippocampi."
We highly recommend reading the rest of the article.
The original Montessori curriculum and class schedule always includes physical activity, active indoor (or warm weather outdoor) play and games, along with the school day.
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