The effects of movement on academic performance and cognitive development is often underrated. Many theorists argue for the importance of movement to be recognized because there appears to be an elaborate interplay of brain and body. Brain research has shown that the brain is “plastic” in that it can adapt continuously, and its structure can be changed by certain kinds of stimulation, including movement. The body is a sensory-motor response system that causes the brain to organize itself. Movement is essential to learning and can be regarded as the door to learning. This article reports on a developmental movement programme which was established to determine whether movement would enhance the academic skills of Grade 1 learners. Four groups of learners were used in this research project. Learners were randomly selected for one of the following groups: the experimental, control, free-play or educational toys group. The results of the pre-testing and post-testing indicate that the learners of the experimental group showed a significant improvement in spatial development as well as in reading and mathematical skills, compared to the learners in the control group, free-play group and educational toys group.
South African Journal for Research in Sport, Physical Education and Recreation Vol. 28(1) 2006: 29-42