Research shows physical activity can be integrated into the classroom without detracting from learning and can benefit engagement, enjoyment, and academic achievement. From our CLASS PAL pilot research, pupils reported positive impacts on engagement and readiness for learning. The infographic below outlines some of the findings reported in the research literature to date (see bottom of this page).
Why the classroom?
Children are often driven to school and spend evenings engaging in screen based sedentary behaviours (e.g. sitting and using a tablet). Time in the classroom is one part of the day where children could be more active, and schools have a great opportunity to reach large numbers of children of different backgrounds.
Why start young?
Moving more may help in the development of healthy habits for the future by reducing time spent sitting. Accruing lots of sitting over a lifetime is linked with poorer health in adulthood and a shorter lifespan. Behaviours such as sitting are learnt and reinforced during childhood, and in addition research shows that children who participate in high levels of sedentary behaviour in childhood, tend to do so as an adult.
How is learning influenced?
Education research has shown that classroom physical activity can positively influence pupil’s enjoyment, engagement, and in some cases academic achievement. For example, a recent study of 500 primary school children in the Netherlands showed that two years of physically active lessons (3 times per week) led to learning gains of four months in Math’s and Spelling.
Click on the links below to access a selection of the growing research on classroom physical activity.