Classroom teachers are challenged daily to increase the knowledge of 25 or more children that are increasingly sedentary and obese. These characteristics are proven to impact education and require that teachers be creative and utilize the evidence based research that supports learning. Increasing activity and fitness in children is an essential component of attaining high academic achievement and self worth. The Courageous Pacers is a goal oriented program that classroom teachers can implement in special education or regular education classes to increase academic performance, improve behaviors, and increase enthusiasm to learning while simultaneously developing exercise and fitness habits in the children.
The literature confirms the relationship between activity and academic performance.
• “Research confirms that physical activity-moving, stretching and walking-enhance learning. Memory processing is facilitated by movement.” Eric Jensen, author of “Learning with the Body and Mind”
• “Overwhelming research supports the role of exercise in decreasing maladaptive behavior in children with developmental disabilities including autism. Identified behaviors include: 1) inappropriate vocalizations, 2) off-task behaviors, 3) aggression, and 4) hyperactivity.” Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 1980; Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 1998
• “There is a connection between physical activity and learning and it is a positive one - children who are more physically fit do better academically. They concentrate better in the classroom [and] they perform better on math and reading examinations. Children who are physically fit do better academically - they perform better on standardized examinations, they concentrate better.” Former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher.