Corbett Prep Students Stretch Minds and Muscles in Schoolwide Fitness Efforts
Students and teachers this year have made healthy choices and fitness a focus in a variety of programs.
Dec. 16, 2013 (TAMPA, Fla.) – It can take 21 days for a new approach to become a habit. Coach Kathy Folen decided to give her students 30 days.
Upper Primary students at Corbett Preparatory School of IDS pledged to become “Fitter Smarter Kids” this fall, following 10 steps in a 30-day action plan designed to stretch their minds and muscles. Folen, a physical education teacher, collaborated with Corbett Prep mom and entrepreneur Carrie Scheiner on the school fitness program, part of a broader, schoolwide commitment to encourage healthy choices.
“Fitter Smarter Kids” was the latest cooperative effort between Folen and Scheiner, who have been working together for two years. Scheiner is the founder of Exploracise, a system of award-winning programs and products that promote fun, education and exercise.
Scheiner and Folen met when Scheiner’s children started at Corbett Prep in 2011. The two women began to talk about how to incorporate Exploracise concepts into the school’s programs.
“We have been developing games together ever since and collaborating on resources to help children exercise their minds, muscles and manners,” Scheiner says.
Working with Folen gives Scheiner a chance to see how Exploracise plays out in real life. The Corbett Prep Upper Primary students were the largest group to take the “Fit Smart Pledge,” agreeing to take “10 Small Steps” toward healthy living during the course of a month. Students checked a box when they chose water over a sugary drink, for example, or ate two servings of fruits or vegetables a day. The 30-day action plan also asked students to get 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night, limit their screen time and enjoy 15 minutes of reading daily.
Folen introduced the pledge and “10 Small Steps” in physical education classes, helping the children learn the vocabulary and remember the steps through games.
The method appealed to multiple learning styles. Visual learners picked up on the steps by seeing them written down in chart. Kinesthetic learners had concepts reinforced through activity. The games also involved saying the steps out loud, a benefit for auditory learners.
Across Corbett Prep, students have made healthy choices and fitness a focus in a variety of programs.
Students have benefited from classroom units, guest speakers, performances and health assessments. Upper Primary students learned about exercising, burning calories, making nutritious choices and more in the teacher developed International Baccalaureate unit “Good for You.” First through fifth graders participated in a musical take on health when the traveling show “Kid Power” presented an interactive, 3D experience that had them on their feet dancing.
Physical education teacher Chip Hill shared a national school fitness program with Corbett Prep to provide grades 3 through 8 with a snapshot of what they do well and areas that need improvement. Part of the President’s Youth Fitness Program, Fitnessgram consists of a battery of health-related fitness assessments in the areas of upper body strength, aerobic capacity, flexibility, muscle endurance and body composition. Corbett Prep started offering the assessments this year to equip students with more information about health and fitness.
Fitnessgram assessments feature Healthy Fitness Zones, which are goals for each student to reach. The physical education team conducted Fitnessgram pre-tests for Corbett Prep children in October and will give a post-test in the spring to measure student improvement and compare data. The data will help teachers incorporate more fitness activities into classes so students can improve and maintain a healthy, fit body. Students completed the fitness assessment tests in the following areas: push-ups, curls-ups, pacer test, sit-reach box, shoulder reach and mile run.
Fitnessgram is an important tool to help students learn and understand about health and fitness as it applies to them so they can grow into healthy adults.
Lifestyle changes can start small, too, as students learned through Exploracise and the “Fit Smart Pledge.” On its own, sleeping an extra hour a night or drinking water instead of soda may seem too minor to make a difference. But these students have seen in school fitness programs how one small change can lead to another and another, a mindset that can serve them well in many aspects of their lives.
Parents may even find themselves inspired to take their own small steps after watching their children’s progress!