How schools in one district are giving kids more time to move
Posted on 02/22/2018
Horizons has been featured in an article on the Huffington Post

"In Wisconsin, for example, the state education department oversees a program called Core 4+, which features inexpensive interventions to increase movement throughout the school day. The program is now in place at 450 schools serving over 300,000 students. Appleton, which has seen several of its schools receive national recognition for their efforts in this area, is one of the cities participating in Core 4+, better known by school leaders here as “active kids, active classrooms.”

The idea of adding so many minutes of movement to the day, especially during class, was initially met with some resistance, said Mikki Duran, who oversees Appleton’s physical education department. Teachers told her they didn’t have time. Duran’s answer was that taking time to move would actually result in more focused time to learn. Once they tried it, she said, most teachers became quick converts.

Today, every school in Appleton has its own program, each aimed at increasing physical activity and fitness. At Horizons Elementary, at least 40 of the school’s 350 kids start every day in the school gym playing a game like “Castle” — a kind of dodge ball, capture-the-flag mash-up. The gym stays open all day for teachers or aides wanting to bring kids down to run a lap and burn off some excess energy. There’s also a running club, and the teachers themselves often start staff meetings with a few laps around the school track.

The physical education teacher here, Carrie Michiels, has also introduced “Fit in 15” breaks for classroom teachers for the days their students aren’t scheduled to take a full physical education class.

“Kids are more alert, more involved” after the breaks, said fifth grade teacher Gina Dresang, a 23-year veteran. “It can be tricky. Once they get up, they can get silly and it takes time to get them back on task, but the benefits outweigh the downsides.”

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