It has been proven time and time again that exercise at school is a key ingredient to happy, healthy, smart students. Including exercise and playtime in our curriculum models a healthy, active lifestyle that will be an incredible asset for kids their whole lives. Also, there is volumes of research that link the movement of our bodies to the optimal functioning of our brains. Education neuroscience (that's a link to Brain Rules by the way, which is an awesome resource) suggests that spending time on the gym or field is often the best way to boost student academic performance during the day.
In Montessori classrooms our students move constantly from shelf to rug to exploring their environment. We take it even a step further as our students grow and begin to slowly favor a more sedentary academic environment. We begin every day at school working out in our gym. We play games, challenge ourselves to see how long and fast we can run, train in circuits and mostly ask our students to design a physical morning that they'll enjoy. The only requirement is keeping the heart rate up and everyone happily participating!
Highlighting the importance of this in our schools all over the country, Spark has developed a program that focuses on getting PE back into our Public Schools. Furthermore, as Spark points out, not all PE classes are created equal. Far too many have students waiting around for a turn, memorizing googleable facts (our kids don't need to regurgitate how tall a basketball hoop is) or otherwise wasting their time. The key, according to Spark is a high healthy heart rate and committed happy kids.
We couldn't agree more!