Active children are happy students

Jared Monkman/NNSL photo Elie Wall, left, and Sophie Brito play at recess at Ecole Boreale, expending energy so they can better concentrate in class.  June 18, 2015 Ecole Boreal

Jared Monkman/NNSL photo
Elie Wall, left, and Sophie Brito play at recess at Ecole Boreale, expending energy so they can better concentrate in class.
June 18, 2015
Ecole Boreal

The link between physical activity and academic success is not a hard one to make, but one teacher at Ecole Boreale is putting theory into practice.

Since February, Kim Ivanko’s classes have had between seven and 10 minutes of light physical activity at the beginning of each session, after which she said they can better settle down and concentrate.

“Students don’t get to move enough, they don’t have enough opportunity to be active,” said Ivanko. “So when they are active, they can sit down and concentrate on learning afterward.”

While students have been throwing balls and playing games in class for a few months, Ivanko wanted to spread the idea to a wider audience. Last Tuesday, Ecole Boreale hosted a Move to Learn Lunch, open to parents, friends and students, to help get the message to more people.

“It exceeded my expectations,” she said. “It was awesome.”

Ivanko said that the approximately 70 children and some parents spent the hour playing with a variety of objects, including sport disks – a sort of frisbee with a mesh centre that can be used like a paddle to pass a ball between them – balls and even a parachute. There were also healthy snacks from sponsor Northmart.

“It was fun having parents there,” said Conor Wilkins. “My dad even said he wants to buy some (sports disks) now.”

Shayla Moore said she finds the activity before class begins and over this particular lunch hour really helps her with her school work.

“It helps you concentrate after you’ve worked hard playing,” she said.

Ivanko said she will keep reserving the first few minutes of class for active learning.

“It’s just excellent,” she said. “The kids really know what to do and it’s great for all of them.”

–Sarah Ladik