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Children who Fidget

Debra Lambrecht,

Founder, Caulbridge Education

| May 6, 2014

Child at picnic table in the rainAthletes know the importance of ‘warming up’ before any physical activity, both to prevent injury and to prepare for optimal performance. This warm up activity focuses the internal warmth and rising energy into the task at hand. The muscles, organs and brain become more alert, and working in sync with each other, are ready for learning.

“Children fidgeting is an indication that they need to move!” says Pediatric Occupational Therapist, and educator Angela Hanscom. Her recent blog post “Why children fidget – And what we can do about it” explains her findings: “We quickly learned after further testing, that most of the children in the classroom had poor core strength and balance. In fact, we tested a few other classrooms and found that when compared to children from the early 1980s, only one out of twelve children had normal strength and balance. Only one! Oh my goodness, I thought to myself. These children need to move!

Ironically, many children are walking around with an underdeveloped vestibular (balance) system today–due to restricted movement. Children are going to class with bodies that are less prepared to learn than ever before. With sensory systems not quite working right, they are asked to sit and pay attention. Children naturally start fidgeting in order to get the movement their body so desperately needs and is not getting enough of to “turn their brain on.” What happens when the children start fidgeting? We ask them to sit still and pay attention; therefore, their brain goes back to sleep.”

Caulbridge School integrates physical movement activities within the classroom, throughout the day as well as regular periods of physical education and games class periods.]