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What the Research Says
Researchers agree: a powerful connection exists between physical maturity and cognitive readiness (Diamond, 2000; Hannaford, 2007). We now know that lack of attention to specific physical criteria can account for learning problems well into second grade and beyond, and that it’s never too late to integrate activities for core strength, cross laterals, balance, and coordination. Some theorists speculate that the increasing incidence of learning problems in the early grades is directly connected to a cultural norm that no longer includes long periods of outdoor or active play for young children. The attraction of television and computers, concerns about safety, and complex family schedules all play a role in the lack of robust gross motor play that is crucial to building core strength, balance, coordination, and the sense of self in space—all now recognized as important factors in the readiness equation!