Feb 052013

By Julie Wiessner
Park Elementary School in Holbrook has received a Fuel-Up to Play 60 grant from the National Dairy Council and the National Football League in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
This program is designed to help students make good choices about eating nutrient rich foods and then work out for about 60 minutes every day. The goal is for students to eat, work out, and then be ready and focused for schoolwork.
One activity is the Little Beepers Walking Program, which includes setting-up a 500’ long walking track inside the building, as well as a mile long track outside the building. The indoor track will be used on bad weather days to keep kids active and moving, and is marked with arrows to control the flow of traffic.
Another part of the grant includes activity zone stations for use at recess. Physical education teacher Jody Good will introduce this new equipment and its appropriate use during regular PE classes. The equipment will then be rotated outside to help students move more and maintain their interest by alternating the equipment available to them.
The Park Team of counselor Stephanie Peters, school nurse Stephanie Bifano, kindergarten teacher Nicole Livingston and Good applied for the grant in hopes of sparking the interest of students to exercise more by providing a variety of equipment and physical activities.
Already in its second year of use are Brain Gym exercises. This program uses a series of simple and enjoy-able movements to enhance student experience of whole-brain learning, making all types of learning, in and out of the classroom, easier. It will be continued in conjunction with the new programs.
The nutritional part of the grant will focus students’ attentions on eating a rainbow of healthy foods, especially fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat or fat free dairy products. At sometime during the year, Park School will host a Teddy Bear Nutritious Breakfast Picnic, including a variety of nutrient rich foods from the five food groups.
Teachers and staff said they feel the benefits of this exercise and learning healthy eating choices are giving fitness to students while maximizing learning and minimizing behavior incidents.