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The SMART program helps students develop missing motor skills

The Wausau Area School District is looking to help students who lack motor skills catch up.

By nurturing maturity through Accelerated Readiness Training (SMART), teachers conduct fun physical activities to develop motor skills, balance and coordination, visual efficiency, hand-eye coordination, l attention and more.

Teachers have found that children today do not get as much physical activity as needed during infancy and toddlerhood, resulting in a lack of motor and core strength. This may be because students are restless in class, not because they want to be disruptive, but because they cannot handle the physical demands of the classroom.

John Marshall Elementary School has used a SMART classroom, hallway tack and outdoor obstacle course to get students moving for the past three years. During this period, teachers saw a decrease in aggression by 60% and distraction by 50%.

Throughout the day, students are encouraged to jump, crawl, spin and balance at any number of stations provided for 15-30 minutes.

“While the activities seem very simple, there’s a lot of science behind them. And there’s a lot of research and reason for how we do them,” said Cathy Ahlert, school counselor at John Primary School. Marshall.

Teachers said when a class goes down the hall or visits the SMART room depends on when students need it most. Jessica Bartz, a first-grade teacher, said that after the kids break, they always come back to class ready to learn.

Activities are changed every two weeks to keep things fresh and exciting for students. Teachers who have taken the SMART work in their spare time to put all the activities together and take time out of class to provide the service to the students.

Over time, more and more elementary schools in the Wausau Area School District joined the trend, creating their own obstacles for students.

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