Copying program a worthwhile endeavor

St. Peter’s Lutheran School has started a program that other schools should watch closely. Back in September, the parochial school implemented Minds in Motion, which uses physical activity to train children’s brains to learn more effectively.

That may seem like an odd idea to some people, but school officials believe the program — developed by Indiana University graduate, reading specialist and teacher Candace Meyer — is a vital tool in helping kids learn better. Students in kindergarten through fourth grade have Minds in Motion daily; students in Grades 5 through 8 have it periodically during the week.

The key, St. Peter’s teachers say, is that the maze-like physical activities strengthen the brain’s vestibular system — the link between thinking and moving. The vestibular system coordinates information from an individual’s inner ear, eyes, muscles and joints.

Every physical activity has a purpose. Some train portions of the brain that aid reading skills. Others develop fine motor skills for writing. Some strengthen eye muscles.

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School officials say they already are seeing positive results: academic skills are improving, students’ writing is more legible and overall body awareness and control has improved. Additionally, Minds in Motion helps students become more confident, reduces anxiousness and provides exercise.

It’s also fun for students.

St. Peter’s officials are tracking students’ results throughout the school year. Other schools should take an interest in what they find. They will likely learn that the program is worth copying.