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26 Sep, Monday
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Montreal Families

Incorporating fitness in math tutoring

Okay kid, run three laps and solve that quadratic equation!” This may not sound much like a typical math tutoring session.  But if you think of all the teenagers who get restless at the mere sight of an arithmetic problem, the concept of combining exercise with homework begins to make sense.

Le Groupe Boottorial Group is a new service that offers two-hour sessions that alternate between high-intensity CrossFit workouts and math tutoring.

The concept is the brainchild of level 1 CrossFit instructor Natalee Crowley and high school math teacher Paula Malo-lepszy, two Montreal mothers who decided to pool their talents to offer a tutoring service unlike any other.

In each Boottorial session, teens do 20 minutes of CrossFit strength and conditioning training, which includes the three basic modalities of cardio, gymnastics, and weightlifting followed by 20 minutes of math tutoring. The cycle repeats until the kids have three, 20-minute blocks of both exercise and schoolwork.

“When you sign kids up for a straight hour of tutoring, you lose their attention after 20 minutes,” Crowley says. “Once kids burn off their excess energy, they can focus much better.”

Crowley cites research studies such as those done by Dr. John Ratey, a Harvard University psychiatry professor who found that periods of intense exercise release specific neurons in the brain that increase focus and “prime the brain for learning.”

The physical aspect of this program involves various fitness activities, including running, rowing, skipping  gymnastics, squatting and weight lifting.

The tutoring sessions are led by Malolepszy, who teaches math, science and computer science at the high school level.

The pair has been working with several English private schools and has recently conducted a trial session with a Grade 11 class at Miss Edgar’s and Miss Cramp’s School. Crowley says this type of workout is ideal for children, who naturally love to push themselves. The program may be especially helpful to those who have trouble focusing on schoolwork for long periods of time.

“But really, anyone can benefit from this type of program,” says Crowley, who also trained as a nurse. “So many great things happen to your body when you work out.  You increase blood flow, endorphins, and oxygen to the brain. You increase your self-confidence and self-esteem.  But most importantly, the kids love it. They look forward to it.”

The Boottorial program is an eight-week session and takes place Sundays at Siscoe Gym in Old Montreal. The cost is $50 per two-hour session.

For more information, visit boottorial.com.

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