Healthy Kids Learn Better!
Healthy Kids Learn Better!
By Maureen Kwiatkowski, MPT and Jeanine Gervasio, PT
At P.G. Chambers School, we believe that physical fitness is an important part of every student’s education. As part of our Whole Child Initiative, we are developing a wellness program that includes helping our students become more physically fit. Obesity and sedentary lifestyle are increasing worldwide, and we are taking a strong, focused interest in the physical activity that is part of each student’s school day. In addition to the well-known physical health benefits of exercise, research shows that it promotes improved socialization and sense of well-being, better confidence, increased attention span, better school attendance, and improved inclusion in family and community life. In other words, a more physically fit student is a healthier, happier, more focused, and more social student!
A child who is physically fit can carry out daily activities without excess fatigue and with enough energy left to enjoy active leisure. The Center for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that every child participate in 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise each day. This can be broken down into 10-15 minute spurts and includes aerobic, muscles strengthening, and bone strengthening tasks. This means something different for each child.
At P.G. Chambers School, we consider our students’ individual fitness needs in the same way we consider their individual academic needs. This means that we are working as a team to develop the best physical fitness program for each student.
We begin with a fitness plan that will enhance health and well-being through exercise and proper nutrition. The plan is developed from the F.I.T.T.E*, a model created by the American College of Sports Medicine. The F.I.T.T.E. plan will measure the following information about the student’s physical activities:
- *Frequency: the number of times per day the activity will occur
- Intensity: how hard the student will work during the activity
- Time: how long the activity will last
- Type: the kind of activity
- Enjoyment: the activity should be fun and engaging!
P.G. Chambers School’s nurses and physical therapists are working together to gather information about where each student is beginning his/her fitness journey, and to monitor the response to exercise as s/he progresses. With opportunities for physical activity already in place throughout the school day, we are taking a fresh look at how we can enhance our programs to provide optimal exercise for each student. Our transdisciplinary approach means that each member of the student’s team is working on making the most of our Morning Movement, physical education, movement groups, physical therapy sessions, and other movement opportunities to enable each student strive for optimal fitness.
We hope our families will join us on this endeavor! Through support of their children’s team in the creation of a F.I.T.T.E. plan, and through their own efforts toward healthy eating and physical activity at home, we know that every child can become a healthier, happier student!