I don't know how many times I've sat down with my kid to read her a book, or work on homework together, only to become frustrated by her constant fidgeting. To me, her movements (I call her "wiggly jiggly") always meant that she wasn't paying attention. It was over time that I came to realize that moving was helping my daughter to learn more effectively.
And it works for adults too! Do you get stuck on a problem at work, go for a nice walk, and then solve the issue by the time you're back at your desk? Clearly exercise and learning go together.
I've learned to deal with my daughter's upside down poses while I read Harry Potter, and our school has several exercise ball chairs for the bouncy kids to use during class. But a new facility in Ottawa is offering an innovating learning experience for kids of all ages.
N.U.T.S (Neuron Upgrade Training Station) is an obstacle race with a twist: you have to answer fun trivia questions along the course! Kids go through physical obstacles (monkey bars, cargo nets and crawl pipes) and knowledge obstacles, which are touch screen consoles with age-specific and curriculum-based questions.
Research has shown that children who are physically active before taking a test or going to class received higher marks than those who didn't do any physical activity before learning. Moving helps our brains to learn better and faster, and mood is also improved. Clearly, my fidgety daughter is onto something!
Jamie Beaudin, a teacher in Cornwall, had a chance to check out the N.U.T.S "upgrade" experience (this is what they call the obstacle course) with his class of students. "I like the concept of moving and learning, I find it important, especially students with ADHD or behaviour problems," says Jamie.
The staff at N.U.T.S supported the students through the obstacle course, answering questions and providing guidance. Jamie says that all students were given results at the end of the course, and provided with positive feedback.
"One of my students isn't really fond of sports, but when we were at the Nuts Facility, he gave it 110%," says Jamie. "The different obstacles makes every students work in different ways."
The facility is not only for teachers and students (although this would make an amazing field trip!) but open to families and groups. Find out more about your visit by checking out the website, and you'll be given guidance on what to wear and bring to the facility.
I can't wait to check it out with my daughter, and see first-hand the benefits of movement and learning.
Disclaimer: N.U.T.S is a Kids in the Capital blog sponsor. All opinions are our own.