Exercise options in independent schools
Imagine my delight when I sat down to read the May/June 2015 issue of Net Assets, and I came upon an article, “Exercising Their Options” which features none other than one of our beloved clients, Providence Day School. The article focuses on how independent schools are increasing the opportunity to exercise, and the different ways students can exercise during the school day. Compared to students in past decades, today’s children have less strength and balance and underdeveloped motor skills, so these new opportunities are very important.
Providence Day School is combating these issues with high-tech devices like bluetooth-enabled monitors, as well as low-tech exercises like rope and rock climbing. They’ve also created an inside and outside facility for the transitional kindergarten students with items that are designed to stimulate imagination. For instance, outside the kids play with bamboo, ropes, and fabric, and inside they can find yarn, blocks, instruments, and paint. The idea behind all of it is to engage students in the varying levels of exercise that will force them to develop their physical fitness and motor skills.
Other schools are employing new techniques too. Among them are natural play materials like logs, stumps, open fields, dirt, and boulders. As the article noted, “When playing outside, children tend to engage in more vigorous, spontaneous activity and display more creativity. That’s because they tend to face fewer adult-imposed rules than they do inside.”
The article also notes that in addition to being hooked to technology, children are given fewer chances to struggle and do things for themselves. Whether because families are in a hurry, or parents just don’t want to see their child struggle, children are less and less frequently forced to tie their own shoes, clean up their messes, and fetch supplies for whatever task is at hand. The article encourages parents to force children to do these things so that they’re engaging in what they’re doing while also building fine motor skills. Schools and teachers can help in that same effort by forcing students to get their own supplies in the classroom, instead of having everything ready to go on their desks.
What exercise options do you have at your school? How are you helping students improve fitness and motor skills? Drop us a line in the comment section below and let us know what you’re doing at your school!
Want to learn from other schools and their health professionals? Join us at the 2015 Independent School Health Conference!