Commentary by Robert Whitaker, a professor of *epidemiology and biostatistics and Jeff Gehris, an associate professor of kinesiology, recently published in The Institute of Medicine (IOM) discusses the rise in public support for pre-K education and the need for a curriculum that includes movement for children.
If the goal of pre-K is to prepare children for kindergarten, then movement they say needs “to be promoted on the basis of its benefits for learning, not just for health. Movement can improve academic performance by developing cognitive functions, such as the ability to sustain and shift attention, remember information, and inhibit impulses.”
Both reference their own research showing that “when teachers move with children, it may enhance teacher-child relationship quality” (Gehris) and “for children to learn well, their teachers must be healthy, and the health of early childhood educators has much room for improvement.” (Whitaker)
Both Whitaker and Gehris were participants in the IOM’s Roundtable on Obesity Solutions.
*As of July 2015, Epidemiology and Biostatistics will become a new department within The College of Public Health.