Serious About Play
It has been more than a decade since Sir Ken Robinson shared the story of Gillian Lynne in what has become the most-watched TED Talk of all time. At the age of six or seven, Gillian struggled in school. She was considered disruptive, was frequently called into the principal's office, and was the topic of many parent-teacher conversations. In despair, Gillian's mother brought her daughter to the family doctor. As he spoke to the mother, he watched young Gillian move about the waiting room. His advice to the family was simple: enroll Gillian in dance school.
Gillian went on to become a highly sought-after dancer and choreographer, perhaps best known for her choreography of Cats and Phantom of the Opera. For her, the transition from "Wriggle Bottom" to star student was simple—she needed to move -- to think.
Evidence continues to show that children need to move—all children, not just would-be dancers. To function at their best, children need to interact, to connect with the world in a hands-on way, and to develop fine and gross motor skills and balance.
Pediatric occupational therapist Angela Hanscom, featured in the Washington Post, NPR, and The Huffington Post, says, "For children to learn, they need to pay attention. In order to pay attention, we need to let them move."
In fact, Hanscom's research suggests that the rise in diagnoses of ADHD over the past decade-plus correlates directly with "the amount of time kids are forced to sit while they are in school." Further, a 2016 story in The Atlantic, "The New Preschool is Crushing Our Kids," indicates that too much time spent doing desk work at a very young age may appear to benefit children in the short term, but by second or third grade, those same children fall behind their peers and are less able to make abstract connections and maintain focus.
Our Lower School complements the developmental strengths of young learners, giving form to their innate desire to explore and discover the world around them.
Research suggests that children who develop strong social skills are more likely to thrive in school, in their chosen careers, and throughout their lives.
The Association for Physical Education maintains that high-quality PE fosters physical, moral, social, emotional, cultural, and intellectual development.