Integrating physical activity into preschool classroom academic lessons promotes daily physical activity and improves literacy
Keywords:literacy, preschool curriculum, childcare/daycare, poverty, Ethnic minorities
Poor early literacy skills and obesity in preschool children have been associated with poor academic achievement later in life. Limited evidence suggests an association of physical activity with improving literacy and decreasing obesity in older children (Carlson et al., 2008). However, the effects of increasing physical activity on literacy skills in preschool children are not known. This article describes the impact of academic lessons taught through physical activity on literacy skills of preschool students enrolled in Head Start. The results showed that increasing physical activity in the preschool classroom led to reductions in sedentary behavior during free play and in body weight, and improvements in literacy compared to non-exercising classrooms. Therefore, physical activity academic lessons are cost effective, require minimal teacher preparation, and result in improved academic scores and lower body weight.
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