- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 26, 2015

GRAND DETOUR, Ill. (AP) - If you walk into Faith Christian School, don’t be surprised if you see students skipping, rolling on the floor, or tossing around bean bags.

The students aren’t goofing off. Quite the opposite: They are trying to enhance their learning and concentration.

Students have been participating in the Minds in Motion program for the past couple of months.

Minds in Motion is a nationally recognized program that works to develop the sensory and motor systems of the body, which helps to improve learning and attention in the classroom.

The exercises blend developmental gymnastics, balance exercises, and complex movements through rotating stations.

Activities range from full-body exercises to isolated eye movements.

They include skipping, walking on balance beams, tossing bean bags, rolling on a mat, sliding across the floor and staring at three large buttons on a string.

“The purpose of the program is to build strong minds,” said Linda Foster, principal at Faith Christian School. “Having these things makes your brain stronger, and it helps the students concentrate in class.”

Activities at each of the 15 stations are designed to work on students’ coordination and balance.

Each classroom participates in the activities once a day, and it takes between 12 and 15 minutes to complete all stations.

“We change and increase the difficulty each week,” Foster said.

All kindergarten through fourth-grade students participate in the program each morning.

Foster said she had seen improvements in the students’ ability to learn and concentrate in class.

“Parents say their kids have done better in their academics,” Foster said.

Elementary students are not the only kids who are participating in the program. Next week, fifth- through eighth-graders will take annual achievement tests, and those students will participate in the Minds in Motion program.

“Studies show if students do this before testing, they will perform better,” Foster said.

Addison Freise, a fourth-grader at Faith Christian School, had no problems crossing a balance beam, which is her favorite Minds in Motion activity.

Freise said the program helps her to focus in class.

“I think it helps us concentrate more,” said Freise, 10. “I also really like to balance myself.”

Kayla Throw, a third-grader, agrees.

“The activities can make your body more healthy,” said Throw, 8. “It helps me concentrate, and it helps me learn more about math.”

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Source: Sauk Valley News, https://bit.ly/1Ky1jvZ

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Information from: The Daily Gazette, https://www.saukvalley.com

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