Give Them a Break: Using Movement Breaks to Help Students Learn

Give Them a Break: Using Movement Breaks to Help Students Learn

One child can sit quietly, focus on her classwork and finish without distraction. Another finds sitting still torturous; as if his chair is on fire. Some students are on the autism spectrum or have other learning disabilities and find it difficult to focus. Every child, or adult for that matter, processes learning differently. In order to support each elementary school child individually, no matter how they learn, occupational therapists (O.T.) in the Camas School District have created a “toolbox” of sensory motor activities to stimulate students’ sensory pathways and help them refocus their attention on academics.

“There are a lot of studies that have shown the benefits of movement with learning, especially in elementary school,” says Nick Calais, O.T. at Dorothy Fox and Woodburn Elementary Schools. “Kids don’t have very long attention spans, especially when you are asking them to sit for a long period of time. We therapists help teachers incorporate creative movement breaks to help kids calm down and refocus.”

Read the rest of this article in the full digital issue below.

Julia Antopol Hirsch lives with her husband and two children in Vancouver, where she is working on her third novel. She is the author of “The Sound of Music: The Making of America’s Favorite Movie,” which was reissued in 2018. She loves to swim and read, and has three mischievous dogs who love to go to the dog park every day.

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