Eat. Play. Learn. D is for DISCIPLINE

To celebrate the publication of Proceedings of the Learning Connection Summit: Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Student Achievement, I’m offering a short daily post during February on the ABCs of the health and academics.


If you have ever worked in schools, you know that discipline problems can take up lots of time that could be better spent on teaching and learning. What you may not know is that discipline and behavior can be improved with something as simple as active recess or classroom energizers or PE class. It’s true – there is a definite Learning Connection between student’s physical activity and their levels of physical activity.

I am a huge fan of programs like Fuel Up to Play 60 (see Maine photo below), Move to Learn, and Playworks that get kids up and moving throughout school campuses – in classrooms, gyms, playgrounds and even hallways. While the strategies and activities vary from program to program and school to school, the overall goal is the same: Increase student physical activity in order to improve behavior, reduce discipline referrals and, ultimately, to enhance cognition and academic success. Does it work?

According to the experts, the answer is another resounding YES. Short bursts of activity, moderate activities like walking and dancing, skill-building PE classes and active recess all help students become more fit, more focused and ready to learn. Need some proof? Here are links to evaluations, assessments and research about the connection between physical activity, behavior and school discipline issues:

Students in PIttston, Maine, jump for joy (as well as health, wellness and academic success)

Students in PIttston, Maine, jump for joy (as well as health, wellness and academic success)