Active Kids = Active Learners

Learning takes more than hitting the books, it takes activity.  From the Washington Post to the CDC, there is a growing body of knowledge connecting physical activity to academic gains.  The Institute of Medicine explains, “Children who are more active show greater attention, have faster cognitive processing speed, and perform better on standardized academic tests than children who are less active.”

A student at the Sportsmen’s Tennis & Enrichment Center site celebrates an ace. (Casey Atkins Photography)

A student at the Sportsmen’s Tennis & Enrichment Center site celebrates an ace. (Casey Atkins Photography)

Through Boston’s Summer Learning Project (SLP) students are encouraged to keep active and academically engaged over the summer months.

This summer, over 900 Boston Public School students participated in the Summer Learning Project, at 18 sites across Boston.  Along with academic instruction in ELA and math, students participated in enriching activities such as tennis, sailing, and yoga.  Student activity levels were recorded and analyzed as part of the city’s initiative, Boston Moves for Health.  On average, each SLP student completed 30 miles worth of activities this summer, equivalent to the distance from Tobin Bridge to Gillette Stadium! The sites that logged the most miles this summer kept students active with daily hikes or tennis matches.

On average, SLP students completed 30 miles worth of activities this summer, equivalent to the distance from Tobin Bridge to Gillette Stadium!

In Table 1, average student miles per program are broken down.  Student miles were calculated using Boston Moves for Health formulas that computed steps, per activity, per student.  The Summer Learning Project sites mirror the wide diversity of Boston, which is also reflected in the varying levels of physical activity found through this initiative.  Total program student miles ranged from 10 to 61 miles.  Active SLP students are seeing corresponding academic results, both in summer programming and throughout the school year.

Table 1: Student Miles, Per Site

2014 Student Miles, per site

While the summer months are behind us, students should still be active. Experts recommend 60 minutes of physical activity per day for children.  Such activity will keep students healthy and their minds alert.  As research shows, active children are active learners.