In education, just as in life, one size does not fit all. We all have different learning styles – some of us might be hands-on learners while others need to write things down before they really absorb the information. At The Wolf School, we work with Complex Learners, or students who struggle in traditional classrooms due to multiple learning differences. Step into any one of our classrooms and you’ll see first-hand how unique every student is and how important it is to uncover what works best for that particular student. Only then can a child truly thrive in school. Prioritizing movement in the classroom is one way The Wolf School helps our student thrive.
Since our founding in 1999, we’ve built into our curriculum one of the most powerful strategies to help every student be successful – movement. But this strategy isn’t just specific to The Wolf School. Whether your child is neurotypical or a Complex Learner, movement can have an incredibly positive effect on your child’s education.
Movement Wakes Up Our Brain
Whether in an office or at school, sitting for hours at a time is a difficult task for any adult, much less a child. Movement in the classroom, or anywhere, helps to organize the nervous system which plays an important role in a child’s development and education. So, when movement is built into the school day, students are given the opportunity to wake up their brains. By going from a sedentary position to an active one, students are able to get the boost of energy they need to ready their bodies and minds to return to the lesson at hand and be better able to absorb information.
Movement Strengthen Visual Skills
It’s probably no surprise just how critical visual skills are for learning. We would struggle to read, write, or perform many everyday tasks without them! But did you know that movement helps to strengthen these skills? Through movement, a child’s eyes, brain, and body work together and when these parts are working, they’re getting stronger! Movement also helps to activate and strengthen our two hidden senses – vestibular, or our sense of balance, and proprioception, or our “body movement awareness” sense.
Movement Makes Learning Fun
Whether it’s walking like a crab as you study the creatures of the ocean or using our bodies to mimic a clock as we learn to tell time, movement can help to bring lessons to life! Children are naturally more engaged when they’re having fun. One of the most powerful types of movement, and one of the most fun, is any type of nature movement. Whether it’s just reading outside on our stomachs to change our bodies normal position in space or taking part in a scavenger hunt, there are plenty of ways to move and learn in the great outdoors!
Movement in the classroom can be a powerful strategy for any child, especially those who struggle with self-regulation. As adults, we know what regulation strategies works for us – a shower at night helps to calm us down while fidgeting with a paper clip during a long meeting might help to keep us focused. But this type of knowledge isn’t common sense for every child. As you include movement as a part of learning, children start to get a sense for the type of activities that help them wake up their brains, what helps them calm down, and overall what helps them feel prepared and ready in the classroom!
Through scheduled movement breaks, movement-based activities as part of our lessons, and built in recess and gym time, our students get their full share of movement every day. But just as important as movement is, it’s also key that after movement, children are given the opportunity to cooldown with some deep breathing or mindfulness activities to help them come back to a regulated state and be ready to take on any new lesson!
The Wolf School is a K-8 private special education school located in East Providence, RI. Founded in 1999, The Wolf School inspires Complex Learners to discover confidence, compassion, and a love of learning to reach their full potential. Learn more about us at thewolfschool.org