Happy New Year!
I hope all of our students, staff and families enjoyed a great break and have come back to classes rejuvenated.
This is a time for resolutions, which often revolve around healthier lifestyles and more physical activity.
For students, physical activity is vital not only to health, but to learning.
Dr. John Medina is a developmental molecular biologist and author of “Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home and School.” His book is a fantastic introduction to how the brain works and how we learn.
The first of his “Brain Rules” is that exercise boosts brain power.
“Exercise increases oxygen flow into the brain. . . an increase in oxygen is always accompanied by an uptick in mental sharpness,” Medina writes. You can learn more about Dr. Medina’s “Brain Rules” at http://brainrules.net/
As adults, we’ve all had that moment when we’re mentally stuck. We have writer’s block or are frustrated with a problem. Getting up from behind a desk, taking a walk or a run, seems to just get the creative juices flowing.
It’s the same for our students. Traditional classrooms with a sit-and-listen approach aren’t the most conducive to learning.
As we learn more about the brain, teachers are changing practice. A recent episode of the TV series “A Public Education” shares examples of how brain research is changing our schools, including the important link between exercise and learning. You can view it at http://youtu.be/VosXnnlePs0 or visit Palliser’s YouTube channel (PalliserRegSch) where the video has been favourited.
Recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement, “The Crucial Role of Recess in Schools,” reflecting the importance of these breaks not only to physical health but to social, emotional and cognitive development.
Last year, Palliser’s Board of Trustees encouraged school administrators to give students at least 15 minutes for recess and 45 minutes for lunch for this very reason.
As we enter 2013, I’d encourage students, parents and teachers to reflect on the benefits of physical activity to many aspects of our lives, including learning.
We all need to stay fit for life and for learning!
Kevin Gietz, Superintendent
Palliser Regional Schools