Welcome to the MOVRS Blog! This blog will serve as my soapbox on education, exploring similar topics to what you will find on the MOVRS Podcast. Keep in mind this is all coming from the point of view of a physical education teacher, so my views are very biased towards movement, play, and the outdoors.
With that being said, I have done a tremendous amount of research over the years in these areas, and have spoken with amazing leaders in these fields who share similar passions. I have found that although there seems to be an overwhelming majority of us who believe in the importance of play and physical activity, very little of it seems to be taking place in the school setting; especially in comparison to years in the past.
Time for recess, unstructured play, and physical education is being cut from schools around the world, with an increasing focus on the “core” subjects (math, science, ELA, etc.). At the same time, student’s diagnosed with ADHD and other behavioral concerns are rising exponentially. Even if there are disagreements on their cause, it is proven that physical activity can significantly help these individuals.
Unfortunately for our children, medicine tends to be one of the first options explored in an effort to calm these students down and “help them focus”. In reality, all it seems to do is help make them more tolerable to the rest of the students and teacher so they are not as big of a disruption.
I am proposing that we instead adopt the Finnish Way of educating our children, offering them a 15-minute outdoor recess break EVERY hour. This provides all students the opportunity to engage in physical activity, or find a calming place to read and relax; whatever it is they feel their body and minds need.
We cannot expect our students to sit at desks, possibly staring at a screen, and stay engaged in a lesson for up to several hours at a time. This inevitably leads to fidgeting and behavioral problems because both kids and adults struggle to sit and pay attention for that long. If we offer our children more frequent breaks throughout the day, preferably outside, I believe we would see a dramatic decrease in the prevalence of ADHD and behavioral problems.
A great resource to help you learn more about Finland’s education system is the book Teach Like Finland by Timothy Walker.