In a world full of digital devices and human interface that is starting to be limited, movement is essential. For the past 10 months I have been traveling with the Gurian team training schools, agencies, parents, and communities on how to incorporate more movement into the lives of our children and young adults.
It has been a fascinating journey to be on the "other side" of the desk so to speak. After many years in teaching and administration, my view has changed. What I used to look for during classroom walkthroughs was intentional excellence in teaching, use of curriculum and depth of knowledge in a subject area, transfer of content that was engaging and dynamic yet full of breadth and "meaty".
When I enter a classroom now, I look for intentional movement. I look for non-resting neural states. I look for kids engaged in a task that is juicy, and noisy, and sometimes louder than some teachers enjoy.
Some see movement and noise as not clean.
Some actually start to twitch when they think of a classroom where students are not sitting still.
You see, what they don't understand about movement is that it can be content driven, it can breed data, and it allows the brain to expand and grow by leaps and bounds. It allows the brain to be more alert, and through movement, relationships form and also take flight.
One year many years ago, our motto at my school was " Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships". To this day, it is part of an evaluation rubric in many places.
I remember shaking my head even then and thinking "We have it all wrong. You cannot achieve rigor without relationships. And you can't form a relationship by sitting still and being quiet".
After 20 years of observing teens ages 11-14 either in a classroom, in conflict, or at play, I can confidently say that they and their younger counterparts love to wiggle and move, and that the opportunities to do so seem to be shrinking due to the demands of a system that forgets that their brains are still developing.
So I thought, how can I begin the journey of bringing movement into the classroom alongside of the Gurian methodologies full throttle? I reached out to two companies. I wanted to see how we at Gurian could more readily provide others with tools that align with our core mission. I connected with KORE STOOL and Stand2Learn. A "wobbly stool" and desk company that allows our kids to MOVE their limbs, and expand their minds.
The Gurian Institute is proud to be partnering with both of these entities and offering significant discounts to schools and families interested in exploring this type of flexible seating for their students. If you are interested, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Several of our Gurian Model Schools utilize these seating options, namely Franklin Boys' Preparatory and Ferrell Girl's Preparatory in Hillsborough County Schools, and they will both be on display during our Winter Institute. I highly encourage you to check them out while in Tampa/St. Pete's January 20th-23rd.
Even my Mom got in on the fun as my test pilot of the "wobbly" stools. Never too old to have fun. 73 and stilettos, still moving!
Turn your R's around. Our kids are depending on you.
By Katey McPherson