The premise of school is to learn. It is THE place where children are equipped with the necessary strategies to mature into an intelligent, problem-solving adult capable of navigating our complex ecosystem. They are provided countless hours of instruction in order to ensure the development of the proper behaviors needed to read, write, type, and more. This constant repetition creates lasting impressions in our brain - motor programs - that serve us routinely in future years. These motor programs are essential to survival in our environment and NEVER leave us.
This same brain of ours, and this same pattern of repetition also determines the human body’s fundamental capacity to move. Yet, our educational system neglects this process and starves our children’s brains from this experience. What results is an expression of the brain that is abnormal and void of sophisticated motor programming. Many children who move abnormally do so due to a lack of this regular, meaningful experience. Shouldn’t we be concerned about this? Motor learning is still learning - isn’t it?
Movement is a precise, highly complex sequence of events. When done correctly, it is graceful and artistic and beautiful. Movement is also personal. It has to be personal, because our brains need it. We cannot reserve the importance of physical literacy for medical or fitness experts and perpetuate this neglect. Movement has to be about you. And me. And us. And our children. If we can make it so, I promise you we will all learn something.
Scott Anderson, MA, ATC
Director of Athletic Training, Stanford University
Stanford Sports Medicine