As a community focussed on our children’s learning, wouldn’t it be great if there was a Miracle- Gro for the brain? You know… Miracle-Gro… the fertilizer we put on that tired plant in our office (that probably really needs re-potting)…the stuff we might use to try and optimize our garden’s tomato yield…our secret to those show-stopping flowers in our front yard. Too bad there’s nothing like that for young learners’ brains!
Hold on, says Dr. John Ratey, associate professor at Harvard and author of the book Spark. “ Exercise is the single most powerful tool that we have to optimize the function of our brains. Exercise IS miracle-gro for the brain.” Dr. Ratey points out that most people exercise to stay healthy or lose weight, but, “Exercise is really for the brain. [People who exercise] are activating more cells in their brain than any other activity we do as humans.”
That, in brief, is why Brady and Heidi VanRy volunteered to start Lions’ Prime TIme at ECNS.¹ Using the turnkey, grassroots training and lesson materials from a program called BOKS Kids, ² Lions’ Prime Time sees 90 to 100 elementary students meeting in the gymnasium from 7:15 to 8:15 Mondays and Thursdays to get some of that miracle-gro for their brains.
Building Our Kids Success by using physical activity to prime their brains for a day of productive learning is the goal of the BOKS program. In the richness of God’s story, Lion’s Prime Time adds two other key goals: 1. Cultivate community and 2. Worship God with our bodies. This wholistic approach, taken by the leaders, means the encouraging high fives, the joyful laughter and the recommended 50-60 minutes of physical activity are all deliberately included in each morning session.
Healthy, ready-to-learn brains. . .Growing cross-grade friendships… Active bodies-as-temples worship to the One who made it all. Some might call that kind of growth a miracle!