A Moving Child is a Learning Child
by Gill Connell and Cheryl McCarthy
Active play is joyful, fun and creative. Play is the essence of childhood. And it is also essential to child development.
The benefits of active play are often linked to physical health – which of course, in an era concerned with childhood obesity rates, is critically important. Yet this book tells the lesser- known and surprising story of the myriad ways in which play and movement are vital to our children’s learning.
Gill and Cheryl’s ground-breaking book introduces a developmentally complex (yet easy to implement) tool that supports the full, natural development of movement and learning in young children. The Kinetic Scale shows us what constitutes a ‘balanced diet’ of movement, enabling teachers, parents and caregivers to facilitate learning through active play while respecting each child’s individual needs.
It’s a story that needs to be heard. At home, at school and in communities, our children are being denied vital opportunities to move their bodies, exercise their imaginations and interact with other kids. Children spend an average of eight hours a day in front of a screen. Almost half of all low-income students do not get any recess. Only one in five children lives within walking distance of a park or playground. This directly affects these children’s physical development and more importantly, their social, emotional and cognitive development.
As a society, we are failing to give children the balance of active play they need to become healthy and successful adults. This is why I champion the importance of play because our children’s futures depend on it and it is why Gill and Cheryl are working to stress the message of moving to learn in a way that offers us all new insights and practical, engaging ways to support it
That kid’s brains require play should be a no brainer. In this important book, the authors demonstrate what a grave injustice we’re doing to our kids by denying them opportunities to move and play. More than that, through illuminating brain research, they show us why our children need to be on the move, and how we can make this happen for the young children in our care.
It is all of our responsibility to give kids the childhood they deserve by ensuring they get the play they need to learn and grow.
Reviewer: Darrell Hammond is the founder and CEO of the non-profit a KaBoom which has built more than 2300 playgrounds in areas of need throughout the United States.
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