Being A Well-Rounded Kid Pays Off

I love it when scientific research confirms what I and many other educators have long believed, justifying a holistic approach to child development and a schooling that gives children exposure to a diverse curriculum that places emphasis on physical pursuits and the arts alongside more academic subjects.

For many years my favourite phrase on the subject has been – it’s all curricular!

So, firstly, here’s an article from the :LA Times, reporting on the latest research that highlights the educational, learning and mental benefits of regular physical exercise and involvement in sports:

LA Times – To Do Better In School Children Should Exercise Their Bodies As Well As Their Brains

So, strong evidence to support ideas of a healthy body in a healthy mind. What I’ve been concerned about in the past (and remain so) is that too m uch of our approach to physical activity in school is still working like a filter, meaning that many children are opting out by the Secondary years. It needs to be for every student, all the time, as part of gaining the habits of a positive healthy lifestyle.

Secondly, here’s scientific evidence for the mental benefits of engaging in music making – faster brain development as a result of music training:

Medical Xpress – Researchers find that children’s brains develop faster with music training

Just as a balanced nutritious diet leads to healthy physical development, so we are learning more and more about the benefits of a balanced mental diet.

Impact of Pesticides

We all know that pesticides are harmful. This article is interesting because whilst it may focus on the impact of pesticides on sperm count, what it really brings home more than anything else is which of our vegetables and fruits have absorbed and retained the highest levels of pesticides.

Washington Post Article – Pesticides

Whilst we need to be careful about extrapolating too much from such data, I believe it certainly offers some cautionary notes that we can take account of in our own diets, and especially in the diets of our children. There’s no question – it’s a challenge. Most people want to believe that automatically, by erring towards diets which are heavily skewed to vegetables and fruit we are living a healthier life and providing a healthier start in life for our children.

However, what the ‘Dirty Dozen’ and ‘Clean Fifteen’ here indicate are that we need to be more discerning about which fruits and vegetables form the staples of our diet because of their levels of pesticide concentration. Separately, I’ve particularly read articles that suggested dangerous correlations between pesticide exposure and children’s brain development.

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