Have you ever walked through the halls of Faith Christian School early in the morning and found yourself walking through a maze of students doing various activities? You may have felt like you were doing your own sort of maze to get to your destination. Each day the lower elementary students participate in Minds in Motion (a.k.a. Mind Maze) for approximately 20 minutes. You may catch a student learning how to jump rope, maneuver a scooter on their belly, bounce and catch balls off of a wall, and even see students standing on their heads. You may question, why do the elementary students do this on a daily basis? Does this actually help our students’ academics?
Our teachers have seen great success with this program. The basis of the program is that students who are struggling in school academics are often the same students who lack basic balance, timing, mobility, rhythm, and eye tracking skills. Through Minds in Motion we are striving to strengthen each of these areas with various exercises. We have seen change in students overall attentiveness, coordination, and tracking skills since implementation three years ago. Students are also able to learn social and leadership skills as they work with a different grade as their “buddy” for Minds in Motion.
Here are some comments from our first and third grade buddies about Minds in Motion.
- Cameron in first grade says, “I like Mind Maze. My partners are Elly and Laelonii. I get dizzy when we roll on the mat. It is hard to stay on the beam. I am trying to learn how to jump rope. On the balance boards we catch balls. We have fun in Mind Maze. It is exercise time.”
- Another first grader, Ellie says, “Mind Maze is very fun. My favorite part of it is the dots. I like my partners too, they are nice. One of my favorite parts is when we are done and I get to get a drink. I am very thirsty after Mind Maze. Mind Maze is great because it is a fun part of the day.”
- Third grader, Kayla B says, “Minds in Motion helps you think. It helps you to focus.”
- Annaliese H says, “Minds in Motion makes you hot and sweaty. It’s also very challenging. My favorite station is the balance beam.”
You may be asking yourself, “How can I incorporate these skills at home?” Here are several ideas that can strengthen your child physically and mentally.
- Encourage your child to play outside. Students need to be riding a two wheeled bike, skipping, running, jumping rope, dribbling a ball, swinging, and even hanging upside down from their swing set. All of these skills take strength, balance and coordination to accomplish.
- Having your child help with yard work is another great way to strengthen these muscles. Raking a yard, digging in the garden, and taking the trash out all requires coordination with another object and their bodies.
- Once the snow starts flying, shoveling snow, walking through deep snow, sledding & ice skating are just a few of the ways your child can build these muscles in those long winter days.
God may have entrusted you with children who you are responsible for mentally, spiritually, and physically. What are you doing to assist in their area of mental and physical strength?