Morning Exercise Prepares Students for Success in the ClassroomTuesday April 2, 2019
Parish elementary students are getting to school bright and early, sliding on their rain boots, and heading out the classroom door, ready to join their classmates on a brisk morning walk around campus. The new ritual, which started last spring and usually takes about 15 minutes, gets their brains focused and ready for the day ahead.
Much research has been released that supports the benefits of morning exercise in helping children maintain focus in the classroom, which has been seen in our students. While some choose to walk and some choose to run, they’re all “getting their wiggles out” and their brains and bodies ready to learn.
“It helps us think about the teacher,” said Daniela, age 7.
For students who tend to fidget a lot, it has helped them to release energy and pay better attention in morning class. Lower Elementary Teacher, Laura Jackson, has kept notes on one of her busiest students. She found that every morning the student went on a walk, his behavior was much more regulated and improved.
Morning walks build community among our different class levels and give students more time to connect. Students chat with one another and grow in their use of language, strength, and ability to think about each other.
“We saw immense benefits in helping bridge the Upper and Lower Elementary communities, as the older students were able to look after and monitor our younger students on the walk,” said Meagan Rosales, Sailors Teacher.
With nature and wildlife being a huge part of the Parish campus, classes work on safety and awareness, too—especially during snake season. Students know to stay together and keep to the trails, but also have the opportunity to stop and observe our natural environment. The Sailors keep a collection of interesting items that they’ve found on their walks, including large, bur oak acorns, butterfly wings and empty cocoons.
And of course, the health benefits are clear, too, as students who don’t enjoy much physical activity have been able to gain more stamina to keep up with their peers. One particular child started out frequently needing to rest on morning walks, but that is no longer the case!
“After two months, he lost weight, was running the whole way and loving it!” said Seekers Teacher, Heather Hillery.
After nearly a year of this morning ritual, students and teachers can agree, morning walks have proven to be the best way to start the day.