I recently spent a fantastic sunny afternoon watching Somerset Spitfires play cricket in Taunton. The one thing I noticed was the communication taking place between the players. There was constant talk, shout, screams and even, but more importantly, smiles and laughter. Everyone was enjoying the game. This is the same if you take the time to stop and watch your children on the playground at break and lunch times. Playgrounds are very loud and busy places and are happy too for the majority of the time. Children enjoy playing, especially with friends, and the activity helps to release those happy chemicals in their bodies that make them feel good. What other benefits does it have?
- Activity releases endorphins in your body that make you feel happy. These feelings are then taken back into the classroom where the positive attitude will make them more receptive to lessons and new challenges. I always found lessons went better after break and lunch times and tailed off towards the end of the session – just as the endorphins are fading and blood sugar is decreasing too.
- Exercise increases heart rate which in turn increases oxygen levels to the brain. In children who are still growing anyway this results in increased brain growth. Your children will grow up to have bigger brains.
- Increased oxygen levels to the brain not only increases brain size it also increases the quality of the bits that make up the brain. Synapse plasticity is increased which means you can use your brain better, it is more agile.
- In 2014 Public Health England published research into the links between activity and well-being and attainment. They found that active pupils are better behaved in the classroom. Other studies have found that pupils lose 20% of their schooling to low-level incidences of disruption in the classroom. If we can improve behaviour we would lose disruption and we increase the time learning.
- Pupils who are physically active have been found to be more confident and have better social skills. Not only will they be academically more able, they will have the confidence and will be socially capable of using this ability to work with others and achieve their full potential.
Those sportswomen playing cricket were perfect example of this achievement. The game needs very clear, quick thinking and ability to communicate these thoughts in a way so others in turn can think and react.
The team was seamless and won comfortably. Just imagine if we could nurture and develop the skills and levels of communication in our classrooms – what else could our children achieve?