On Thursday, March 15, Liberty Elementary School hosted an event designed to bring families together to have fun while learning called Math & Movement. It is a multi-sensory approach to teaching math and reading the uses physical activity and visual elements. In short, it pairs learning math and reading with being physically active to make it more memorable and enjoyable – for the whole family.
Nearly one hundred families attended the event, which was run by over 20 elementary school volunteers.
The program uses specially designed floor mats and banners that enable students to hop, walk, crawl, or dance their way to mastering math and reading concepts.
Among the reasons for a program like this is that eight of ten children are what’s known as kinesthetic learners, meaning that they learn best through movement – and the program taps into a child’s natural kinesthetic learning style.
The program is based on research that shows that moving during learning facilitates muscle memory, an important factor with younger children whose abstract thinking skills are not fully developed. Studies show this type of activity allows teachers and students to feel more energized, focused, and prepared to learn.
According to Liberty Elementary School Principal Jacqueline Harris, the Math and Movement Family Fun Night was just that. “It was a night of math, physical activity, family, smiles and laughter all around,” she said. “Our goal for the future is to bring this multi-sensory approach into the classroom and change the way we practice fundamental math and literacy skills every day for every student at Liberty Elementary School.”
According to Jennifer King from Math and Movement, Liberty’s event on March 15 was the largest family fun night they have hosted.
“The excitement from students, parents, teachers and administration was contagious,” Mrs. King said. “It was our pleasure to bring Math and Movement to Liberty Elementary!”
The event was made possible through a grant and was no cost to the district. The event would not be possible without the help of SueAnn Boyd, Healthy Schools Coordinator from Cornell Cooperative Extension and the school’s math department. Together they worked with Barbara Blakey and the Liberty Networking Group for months to make this event happen.
“We waited with great anticipation for the evening to arrive and when it did, it was even better than I had imagined,” Mrs. Harris said.