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Role of Movement Activities in Social Behaviors & Interactions

Instructor: Ame Frey

Ame has a Master’s Degree in Justice Administration and a Doctoral Degree in Education Counseling Psychology. Ame is a College Professor and Criminal Justice Program Director. Ame has over 17 years of experience as an educator and working in the Criminal Justice field.

In this lesson, you will learn how the role of movement activities relate to health, social norms, values, and institutions to promote positive social behaviors and traits.

Have you ever considered why physical education is its own subject and has the same amount of time as other subjects in school? The reason is because physical education ties everything together. Movement activities are important to the physical, social, and emotional growth in children. We all develop at different paces but these activities have a similar effect for most people. The way we socially interact, develop social behaviors, and enhance cognitive functioning is through movement. Research shows a strong correlation between movement activities and positive cognitive functioning.

Movement Activities and Cognitive Functioning
Brain with weights

Okay so how does this work? Well our motor (movement) and cognitive (learning) functions are both processed in the cerebellum. The cerebellum is an area of the brain that also sends and receives nerve impulses connecting sensory systems to other areas of the brain. These sensory systems called vestibular which is our inner ear and cerebellar which is what controls our motor functioning are the first areas to mature.

The interaction between the brain and the sensory system is critical to our ability to maintain physical balance, coordination, and process thoughts into an action. Various skills that are used during movement activities increase the heart rate which increases blood flow and inadvertently improves memory and learning. Movement activities can focus on learning basic cognitive functions like counting and color recognition or more complex functions that focus on math and reasoning. Regardless of the skill being used, they all teach group participation and respect for others.

Movement Activities and Socialization

Playing interactive games during early childhood helps children develop emotional and cognitive skills. These skills are influenced by the social behaviors of the group and can benefit most children. Children with special needs can improve their motor, social, and emotional skills by interacting with children without special needs in group activities. For example, in the picture below you see a group of children who are each holding a part of the colored circle.

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