4 Reasons Young Children are Usually Barefoot at Gillispie
“Where are your shoes?” This is a familiar inquiry overheard at the end of the day toward barefoot preschool students. Most likely the shoes in question have been tucked away while the child has been blissfully barefoot during the school day. You may have wondered what are the benefits of walking barefoot in the park?
- Body Awareness, Balance, and Agility
Going barefoot helps children develop kinesthetic recognition which leads to better dexterity and proprioception. It also stimulates reflexology on the bottom of the feet that can affect every major organ in the body.
Being barefoot naturally directs a child to assess a situation and adapt to it. It provides a heightened awareness of surroundings. Being barefoot helps to develop a more natural gait making children more stable and less likely to trip.
- Healthy Foot Development
When children are born, they do not have bones in their feet. Instead, they have cartilage that continues to grow into the complex 28-bone skeletal structure that ossifies fully in the late teenage years. Unrestricted bare feet allow the opportunity for appropriate toe spread and spring, heel elevation, and torsional rigidity of the sole. Poor foot development can lead to lifelong issues in the knees, hips, pelvis, and even spine.
- Sensory Connection to the Environment
The human foot has over 200,000 sensitive nerve endings that spring into action when given the chance. Bare feet allow children to develop sensory pathways that program healthy movement function. It also creates a deeper connection to the learning environment around them.
These reasons, along with recommendations by pediatric occupational therapists, are why shoes are optional in Early Childhood. Feel free to kick off your shoes and sink your toes into the dirt with us!
About Gillispie School: We are an independent toddler through Grade 6 school in La Jolla, CA. We believe that learning is a journey in which children are active participants. Our students partner with teachers to further their academic, creative, and social growth, and we balance a child-centered approach that does not rush childhood with well-researched academic programs that demand higher-level thinking. Click here to learn more about our school.