Things got moving fast recently in Stoney Creek Elementary School teacher Heather Paparella’s second-grade class. Students were stretching, jumping and dancing.
Students were taking a “brain break,” led by YMCA instructor Caley Faulkner, to become refreshed and re-energized. Dancing to pop music, stretching with exercise bands, trying brain teasers and doing fast-paced aerobics had students moving and smiling. Faulkner said it’s a way to get students out of their seats, and teach them how to move throughout the day so they can do their best in school.
The YMCA’s Nutrition in Action Program is in 60 schools in Kent, Newaygo, Muskegon and Ottawa county schools. Instructors visit kindergarten-to-fifth grade classrooms three times as week for 15-minute sessions to promote a healthy classroom environment. Stoney Creek was participating in the program’s “Get Active” series.
“Research shows that students concentrate better when they participate in movement and physical activity throughout the school day,” Faulkner said. “I demonstrate low-cost forms of exercises that are tied to curriculum that the teachers can use during the school day and that the students can bring home to promote healthy, physically active lifestyles.”
Paparella said students get just one recess a day and gym once or twice a week, so getting them out of their seats is important. She also does an interactive technology program called GoNoodle.
“It gets them moving and gets the brain going,” she said.
Students agreed. “I feel really good, and my body feels good because I stretch a lot,” said second-grader Mykaveon Johnson. “I work on my body and my brain.”