Recently I attended a talk entitled “Ignite the Spark” It was presented by two high school teachers who believe students that exercise before class increase their attention span, improve their grades, improve their fitness level, decrease absenteeism as well as suspensions, and lower depression rates. They have put this theory to test in several high schools in the Ottawa area by implementing a short exercise period first thing in the morning or at lunch time. Sessions can be held right in the classroom and do not have to involve any special equipment.
This makes complete sense to me as a mother of three boys. Boys are notorious for short attentions spans, especially in the early school years. I remember years ago that my brother failed grade one, along with 6 other six-year-old boys. I’m positive it was because his middle-aged female teacher could not relate to or handle little boys. When my sons were in primary school, I helped out in their classrooms. One day I arrived to a grade two class to find the substitute teacher in tears because one of the students spilled paint on her silk blouse. The students were sitting at their desks with their heads down on the desk in punishment. The teacher was very young, perhaps 25, but again, no experience handling small children.
Both of these experiences show that teachers have to find a way to relate to their students. The best way to get students, especially young children, to perform at their best is to exercise their brains so their strengths are optimized. Sitting in a classroom all day with no physical activity is the fastest way to slow the children down both mentally and physically, preventing them from reaching their full potential.
Igniting their spark sound likes a healthy alternative to me, promising great results for teachers and students.