Ann Lukits, reporter for the Wall Street Journal, shared that sitting still and listening to the teacher can be a challenge for young children, especially after a long vacation. Scheduling a physical-education class before the morning bell could improve their focus, suggests a small study in Preventive Medicine Reports.
Researchers found that children spent more time following instructions and working quietly at their desk—so-called on-task behaviors—on days they participated in a school-run physical-activity program before the start of morning classes. On days they didn’t exercise, the children were more likely to interrupt, make noise and stare into space, known as off-task behaviors.
Gym classes are traditionally held during school hours but many schools have reduced the time allotted for physical activity in favor of academic subjects, the researchers said. Before-school programs may improve students’ in-class behavior and readiness to learn without taking time away from academics, the study suggested.
Previous studies have shown that bouts of high-intensity physical activity can enhance students’ cognition, especially executive function, which involves processes that make it possible to stay focused, the researchers noted. Read more