Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Good Old Days

There are a lot of emails about "The Good Old Days."   They always speak of a time when life was simpler and how things seemed to be better, well, I don't know if that is true but I do have reasons for wanting students to return to "The Good Old Days."

Let's talk about a child's ability to maintain focus and pay attention.  Clearly we have all heard of the term ADD or ADHD.  These acronyms are used frequently whenever a child cannot sit still for an extended period of time.  Every year there seem to be more and more children who have been diagnosed with these issues.

How many of you have wondered if your child had ADD?  I am sure it crosses the mind of many parents. 

The fact is, children are inquisitive, curious, and imaginative beings.  They need to fill their days with wonder, using their senses to take in and process information as they move through the world.  Even the best, most child centered schools find it challenging to allow kids as much "active" time as the child needs.

Up until the last 75 years or so, children spent their time being physical.  From the earliest days of hunter/gatherers to farming communities, children had physical chores to do, they were not expected to sit in a room and take in what an adult was saying for hours at a time.

I am not knocking the teaching profession, I am part of it and I love what I do.  By observing children, I am of the opinion that ADHD is over diagnosed and the reason may be as simple as getting your child up at the crack of dawn, milking the cows, planting or harvesting crops, pulling weeds, gathering firewood, mucking out the stalls and walking 10 miles (in the snow) to school.

Okay, that may be an exaggeration but I am making a point.  A child's body was made for motion, when the body has been exercised enough the child has no trouble sitting and paying attention.  As his body rests, his mind is sharper and his senses are more acute because the need to move has been met. Now the mind works as the body is comfortable being still.

There are many afterschool programs for soccer, sports, running.  I think we, as a community, need to rethink the timing of these programs.  Perhaps we would have more success in the classroom if these sports programs were in the morning.

As parents, you can implement your own programs.  Running, swimming, biking, yoga, skating are all good activities that you and your child can do together before school.  This is a  committment, not a one time only deal.  It is good for everyone and will bring you and your child closer together.

If you have ever wondered if your child has an attention problem, why not try morning exercise before heading to the drug store.

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