By Erik Congdon, Director of Athletics and Physical Education
A healthy mind starts with a healthy body. Because exercise is a fundamental part of maintaining wellness, we support the incorporation of physical activity into the school day and after-school programs to ensure students are growing in all aspects of their education.
Getting Smart by Staying Active
Physical activity allows students to stay healthy and fully participate in classroom activities, but the benefits don’t stop there. Physical activity has also been linked to increased recall, cognitive and problem-solving abilities among children.
In one of many recent studies tying academic performance to staying active, Active Living Research reports that children who participated in PE courses were actually able to remember a greater percentage of vocabulary words as opposed to students enrolled only in sedentary classes.
Building Resilience through Adventurous Play
Safety will always be the ultimate priority, but inviting children to step outside their comfort zone and take risks in a supervised environment can be remarkably beneficial.
Challenging, sensory-rich play that encourages children to make choices and assess risks is often referred to as adventurous play, and scholars and educators have been singing the praises of this type of activity in terms of benefits to childhood development.
Allowing children to be bold and make their own decisions can act as a rehearsal for dealing with truly risky situations. It can teach them about their own capabilities to master new challenges, give them an opportunity to learn from their shortcomings, and understand they can make good choices.
Setting the Stage for A Healthy Future
As educators, our job is not only to provide students with information and insight about the world that surrounds them – it is also to teach students about the ways they can choose to navigate the complexities and challenges of the world, both presently and in the future.
To many teachers, this primarily means getting children into study habits that will help them through high school and beyond. To World Academy, it also means emphasizing to our students the importance of staying active and good nutrition to inspire them to adopt healthy habits as adults.