Master of Science
Jennifer Lucko, PhD
Matthew E. Davis, PhD
Rosemarie Michaels, EdD
Educators are realizing the unrealistic expectations on students to be quiet and sit still for extended periods of their day (Donnelly & Lambourne, 2011). Some educational advocates have been reintroducing movement into the school day in response to research that indicates the importance of extracurricular activities on developing the whole child (Hannaford, 1995). Movement, connection, touch, play, and creative endeavors have been shown to be critical components to teaching students to be well-rounded individuals (Hannaford, 1995). This study explores how movements and activities that cross the midline affect a student's focus and ability to learn in the classroom. Cultivating an understanding of the importance of midline movements in the classroom is important to create buy-in for schools and teachers to join this movement. In turn, students will then reap the benefits that midline movements can provide for them.
The purpose of this study was to create awareness and open up a larger conversation about the benefit to students from midline movements which has not yet been studied in education research up to this point. The researcher conducted longitudinal qualitative research with a phenomenological approach and from a pragmatic worldview in a kindergarten classroom at an elementary school in northern California. The study focused on how different students felt in their body following the completion of midline movements compared to times following when they did not engage in the midline movements. The findings suggest a correlation between completing midline movements and a student’s positive behavior in the classroom through a gained sense of self-awareness, body awareness, and situational awareness. Students feel a calmness over themselves which effects their noise level, ability to sit still, overall cleanliness of the classroom, and their teacher’s ability to feel calm as well. The connection between the mind and the body is an essential part of education and needs to be on the forefront of how we educate our students.