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Exercise and executive function in the curriculum: What does current research indicate on potential gains in enhancing cognitive development?

Written by: Clare Owen
7 min read
Clare Owen, Hollyfield School, UK We often view curriculum as the beating heart of a school’s contribution to its community. While finding a definition that suits everyone is near impossible, in whatever form we conceptualise it, it is the engine room of education, the driver of our intent. For that driving force to be as effective as it might be, we must pay attention to the needs of students within and beyond the classroom so that they might best benefit from it. The difficulty with influencing factors beyond pedagogy, such as sleep, nutrition, emotion and exercise, is that while colleagues recognise their importance and the devastating effects that, if served poorly, they can have, they are so idiosyncratic to each child, so nebulous in their own form, that providing for them is complex. Physical activity (PA), given that its importance is already established, may seem the area with the greatest potential for straightforward gains, but could its effects be yet more beneficial to

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