Science of Learning Overview

It has long been the norm in education that some degree of stress or suffering is necessary for long term learning.

In fact the science says the opposite.

Stress and suffering create the stress hormone cortisol, a neuro-toxin which cuts the connection between the instinctive part of the brain and the reasoning part of the brain. More over neruo-trophic factor - the upping of the IQ - happens most effectively when the body is in movement while problem solving.

And the most recent studies show that if you add fun and joy to this process you magnify the neuro-trophic factor significantly and the information stays in the brain.

Anything learned under stress is quickly forgotten.

Anything learned in movement and joy - if you disguise learning at play - leads to long-term learning and the ability to take in ever more complex information.

Our mentors in this include neuro-scientists at the University of California, physicists and mathematicians at the University of Osnabrück in Germany, and Frankfurt, as well as autists and brain experts such as Dr. Temple Grandin from Colorado State University.

In fact, our entire journey into the field of movement and learning began when we followed the advice of Dr. Temple Grandin in how to educate young autists. She said: follow the child - physically, emotionally and intellectually; do it outside in nature as much as possible (and nature can be a backyard or outdoor area of a school); and let the children move, move, move, because most people learn best kinetically.

The initial results were so spectacular, that we began to consult with neuro-scientists and other experts as to why and from their explanations and the studies they pointed us to, Movement Method was born.

Put simply, it works! Because this is how the brain actually prefers to learn.

The good news is that it can be implemented very easily in every day environments such as schools, the home, therapists offices and so on with very minimal investment.

Once you know the basic neuro-science it becomes very easy to adapt pretty much any situation and the more you do it the better at it you get, whether it's teaching the most basic concepts/skills or the most complex.

What's more, as you practice it your own IQ goes up, because by learning Movement Method and applying it, neuro-trophic factor kicks in for you as well those you are trying to teach.

Why Movement Method and ATHENA/Horse Boy Method work

The Science an Overview

The Problem

  • Kids - indeed people - on the autism spectrum - or with other diagnosis - often have overdeveloped or over-activated amygdalas: the fight, flight, freeze center of the brain.
  • This makes the body produce cortisol which shuts down learning and communication.
  • People with these conditions generally have over sensitive nervous systems.
  • Bad sensory triggers (e.g. harsh lighting, echo, industrial noise, smells) make the already overactive amygdala produce yet more cortisol.
  • The result: the person is locked in a vicious cycle where they can’t learn, can’t access the intellect and are in distress most of the time.

The Solution

  • Take the bad sensory triggers out of the environment.
  • Initiate movement that rocks the child’s hips in rhythm (swing, horse riding, shoulder ride, trampoline, rocking chair, yoga ball, swivel chair, etc. …)
  • These movements produce oxytocin, the antidote to cortisol.
  • Not only does the oxytocin take away the cortisol, it is also the communication hormone - enabling the receiving as well as giving of information.
  • If the person can also play freely outdoors and if nature can be brought into indoor environments, they get good sensory triggers which calm the nervous system.
  • These play activities also have the following good effects on the brain:
    • Activates the cerebellum which controls social skills
    • Cerebellum then produces Purkinje cells which make the different parts of the brain communicate better with each other.
    • This activates the pre-frontal cortex the logic, reason, emotional control center of the brain.
    • The same activities simulate the vestibular system which aids long term learning and attention.
    • This type of movement also makes the brain produce BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor) which ups the IQ by creating more neurons.
  • The result: the person is now in a positive cycle, the brain can now develop functionally and we can now get communication and learning.