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The Great Parenting Debates

The Mind-Body Connection and Learning

There’s a report today in the New York Times about growing interest in adjustable desks for school children. These desks that allow kids to stand up and move their bodies as they study seems like a very good idea. Coming on the heels of studies showing that kids who have recess fare better
in school than kids who don’t, this trend signals growing awareness of how strongly kids’ physiology can influence their learning.

MRIs and other new technology are increasingly laying bare the physical basis of the human intellect, giving neuroscientists exciting new insights into brain physiology. So paying attention to the effect that children’s entire bodies — not just the brain — have on their ability to learn also seems like a worthwhile idea.

Psychotherapists have long known that kids are more likely to share their thoughts and feelings while they’re playing. One psychologist I know likes to talk to boys while tossing a football. Parents, too, often realize that it’s easier to talk to kids while you’re doing something together. If being in motion helps kids loosen up and talk, it might well follow that a desk allowing them to move their bodies a bit will help them think and learn.
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