Action Based Learning, Arkansas Health Summit

April 9, 2009

A new creative group is making childhood educators rethink recess. It's called Action Based Learning.

Jean Madigan, is the consultant for the group, says we have to get our kids moving to get their minds moving.

"We're into a lot of sitness, and not a lot of fitness... and we sit... kids sit to learn, kids sit to eat, they sit to play, they sit to watch, they are sitting a lot more than we ever have before."

She says this is why America's childhood obesity level is growing.

"A new study that just came out this week, one in four of our four year olds are either over weight or obese. Obesity not only affects your health, but it affects your learning."

She says she is a preventor and she's Devoted to changing the way educators teach our children.

"How does the brain work? How does it grow? How does it remember? How does it forget? What can we do to give the children an advantage through physical activity and nutrition?"

Madigan teaches if your body is tired, your brain is tired. Therefore, she says, children learn best after physical activity.

"You have more energy, you're more motivated, you're ready to learn, so exercise is what gets you ready to learn."

She says everything is born with the instinct to play, so she encourages teachers to use that instead of what kids think are boring lectures.

"Would a kid say, 'that just organized my hemispheres that just got glucose to my brain faster'... they don't know that, they just perceive it as fun."

But Madigan says this type of learning must also be taught outside of the classroom. It's important for parents to follow the plan as well.

"I encourage the parents out there, do something for your children's health and their health... because its all about the kids. What can you do today that can impact them tomorrow?"

For more information about the program, visit

There's still one more day to catch the Health Summit here in Region 8.

Friday, April 10th at the Paragould Community Center from 8 a.m. - 3 p.m.

To register for this event call Amy Howell at 933-4585.