In order to create actual changes to the sensory system that results in improved attention over time, children NEED to experience what we call “rapid vestibular (balance) input” on a daily basis. In other words, they need to go upside down, spin in circles, and roll down hills. They need authentic play experiences that get them moving in all different directions in order to stimulate the little hair cells found in the vestibular complex (located in the inner ear). If children do this on a regular basis and for a significant amount of time, then (and only then) will they experience the necessary changes needed to effectively develop the balance system–leading to better attention and learning in the classroom.
In other words, adjusting children’s seating and taking quick one-minute movement breaks will offer some support — but we will continue to see significant sensory and behavioral problems, as well as a decline in children’s overall health (i.e., rise in obesity, decrease strength, and poor body awareness) if we don’t start allowing for adequate time in which children can get up and out of their seats to move.
She also shares a story where she suggests a student get an hour of recess time each day and teachers laughed out loud at her during the meeting. Could I, as a principal, justify an hour of recess for a student with major behavior issues and likely not performing to the level he "should"? With the right support (like Playworks), I think I could. I've seen kids spend that much time out of class or disrupting their peers in a day that it would be better for everyone if that child had more time to move. Just giving the kid an hour of unstructured time would likely result in more problems, but support from a Playworks coach could have a very positive impact. Also, I have seen teachers who are very effective at getting kids to move around during the day NOT have problems with kids that other teachers can't seem to handle.