THE UNSAFE CHILD: Less Outdoor Play is Causing More Harm than Good

Angela Hanscom is a pediatric occupational therapist and the founder of TimberNook, which focuses on nature-centered developmental programming in New England. Angela holds a master’s degree in occupational therapy and an undergraduate degree in Kinesiology (the study of movement) with a concentration in health fitness. She specializes in vestibular (balance) treatment and sensory integration. She is also the author of the upcoming nonfiction book, Balanced & Barefoot, which discusses the effects of restricted movement and lack of outdoor playtime on overall sensory development in children.

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The right — and surprisingly wrong — ways to get kids to sit still in class

A post I published in July titled “Why so many kids can’t sit still in school today” seems to have struck a nerve with readers, who continue to read it in big numbers.  The piece was by Angela Hanscom, a pediatric occupational therapist, who said that kids are being forced to sit for too long while they are in school and are being deprived of enough time for real physical activity. This, she said, is affecting their ability to learn and in some cases leading to improper ADHD diagnoses.

Here is a follow-up post by Hanscom in which she talks about how to get kids moving in class and some of the mistakes teachers are making. Some of her suggestions may be controversial. For example, she takes issue with a method that some teachers say they are using with success — having students sit on bouncy balls. Hanscom is the founder of TimberNook, a nature-based development program designed to foster creativity and independent play outdoors in New England.

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Young kids are being shuffled from one activity to another — in school and out. Why that’s bad for them.

Angela Hanscom is a pediatric occupational therapist who has written important (and popular) posts on this blog about child development and the unfortunate way that many schools fail to meet the needs of young children. Her first, in 2014, was titled, “Why so many kids can’t sit still in school today,” and it is still read frequently around the world.

This is her newest look at how schools are not adequately addressing the developmental needs of young children. This one examines the many transitions that kids are asked to make in school and out — even though they may not be ready to make so many.

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How schools ruined recess — and four things needed to fix it

A post I published last summer by pediatric occupational therapist Angela Hanscom, titled “Why so many kids can’t sit still in school today,” continues to be popular today, as are two other related posts of hers, “The right — and surprisingly wrong — ways to get kids to sit still in class” and “A therapist goes to middle school and tries to sit still. She can’t. Neither can the kids.” Here is the fourth in her occasional series on movement in classrooms. Hanscom is the founder of TimberNook, a nature-based development program designed to foster creativity and independent play outdoors in New England.

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WHY CHILDREN FIDGET: And what we can do about it.

Just over a year ago, we published one of our most popular posts to date: “WHY CHILDREN FIDGET: And what we can do about it.” Exactly one year ago, The Washington Post’s Valerie Strauss featured my content in her article, “Why So Many Kids Can’t Sit Still in School Today.”

The response has been astounding. From all over the world, I’ve heard from thousands of parents, teachers, and occupational therapists. We’ve had great conversations around solutions: from wildly altering the school day to swapping desk chairs for yoga balls.

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