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COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL Additionally, learning by doing creates more neural networks in the brain and throughout the body, making the entire body a tool for learning (Han- naford 2005). There is a growing body of research determining that physical activity activates the brain much more so than doing seatwork. While sitting increases fatigue and reduces concentration, moderate- to vigorous-intensity movement feeds oxygen, water, and glucose to the brain, optimizing its performance. Beyond providing an opportunity for children to “feed” their brain and to learn by doing, Toddlers contributes to cognitive development in the follow- ing ways: • These movement experiences offer numerous opportunities for the children to deal with the concepts of space and shape. Thus they will be learning to deal with abstract thought. Since language, num- bers, and the alphabet are all abstractions, this is very necessary preparation. • The children will have considerable opportunities to experience directionality and spatial awareness, which are critical to reading and writing abilities. • By using a problem-solving method of instruction with the children, you will be enhancing their problem-solving capabilities. They are going to discover there will always be more than one way to solve any problem or to meet any challenge. • The children will experience cross-lateral movement, which helps children cross the body’s midline and activates both hemispheres of the brain in a balanced way. Because such movements involve both of the eyes, ears, hands, and feet, as well as core muscles on both sides of the body, they activate both hemispheres and all four lobes of the brain. This means cognitive functioning is heightened and learning becomes easier (Hannaford 2005). • Body image influences a child’s emotional health, learning ability, and intellectual performance. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL Introduction  7