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Making Movement a Priority


One of my New Year resolutions is to run a half marathon.  I love to move and find it hard to sit still. Most children share this need for movement with me: They can hardly wait to join their classmates during break for a soccer match. At the GIS, we believe in the aktive Pause (active break). Our students are encouraged to balance on tree stumps, climb on the play structure or jump rope.

Mental and Physical Benefits

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that young people aged 6–17 years participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily. This has mental and physical benefits. Physical activity boosts blood flow all over the body, including to the brain. It helps brain cells to connect better with each another. Regular physical activity helps reduce the risk of developing obesity and chronic diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease.

 A recent study by the German government found an interesting connection between physical activity and school achievement (1). Physical active children have a better sense of balance and better motor skills according to this research. Their better sense of balance has an impact on their grades. The study from Germany showed that a connection between balance, fine motor skills and the ability to do well academically.

GIS students are active throughout the day. They walk to a nearby gym for PE class, dance to learn new vocabulary, move through hoops in team activities, and participate in after-school activities like Handball or Table Tennis.

Making Movement a Priority

In the near future I am envisioning even more outdoor activities: The creek area on our school property will develop into an outdoor classroom. It will enhance our learning experience by providing for hands-on and unlimited physical activities. In the meantime, Portland Parks and Recreation offers family-friendly 5k runs throughout the year to help you and your children stay active together.

(1) Ulrich Striegel vom Referat Schulsport im Hessischen Kultusministerium:"Die Studie kann sagen, dass zum einen es einen Zusammenhang gibt zwischen Gleichgewichtsfähigkeiten, motorischen Fähigkeiten allgemein und den Schulleistungen. Und die Studie kann sagen, dass dann, wenn im Rahmen des Unterrichts täglich Bewegung integriert wird - dass die Leistung von Schülerinnen und Schülern dann verbessert wird. Das konnten wir anhand standardisierter Tests nachweisen."
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