...all learning is sensory motor learning.
The ability to hear, read, and even form ideas in one's head involves movement. When we think we are activating muscles, or, at the very least, motor neurons to aid in our learning process. It is automatic and unavoidable. When we solve a math problem in our heads many of us move our fingers unconsciously. Some people, as they read, will silently mouth the words they are reading.
Neurobiologist Roger Sperry, 1981 Nobel Prize winner for brain research, said: "Ninety percent of the stimulation and nutrition to the brain is generated by the movement of the spine." According to Hanna, he also concluded that "the sole product of brain function is muscular coordination."
A recent study in Finland confirmed what Thomas Hanna and other somatic education pioneers have contended for decades: there is a link between motor (movement) function and brain function. They found that children whose motor skills were lacking were more likely to have learning difficulties. What does this mean, then, for children who play less, use more technology, and spend more time being passively entertained?
From my perspective this means that more movement, as well as movement exploration. can only have a positive affect on children's test scores, ability to focus and to learn.
If we spent as much time nurturing our children's movement intelligence as much as we do their test scores, we might find other benefits as well: improved social skills, spatial awareness, self-esteem, problem solving - and the ability to truly sense our bodies and how they respond to stress.
Becoming physically masterful and aware is the gift that keeps on giving. Somatic awareness and physical autonomy is the birthright of all human beings. We are meant to move forward, grow and learn.
For an interesting perspective on children, movement and neuroscience go to Dr. Kwame Brown's Move Theory. He is a tireless advocate (as well as a neurophysiologist) for creating solutions to childhood inactivity.