Teaching young people about healthy habits they can maintain for the rest of their lives. That’s the goal of Southdown Primary School physical education teachers Lynn Hefele and John Romano. Getting parents to buy-in to the campaign and keeping them well informed about it are important, too.
The two energetic educators recently organized Southdown’s fourth annual family fitness night. The event was another important step forward in their drive to make a positive difference in the lives of students at the school.
“The Southdown physical education department is committed to helping children establish healthy habits beginning at a young age,” Principal Scott Oshrin said. Mrs. Hefele and Mr. Romano recognize that participation in physical education classes plays only a role in this development.
“In order to truly create a healthy lifestyle, it is important that parents and other family members encourage and participate in physical activity with their children,” Mrs. Hefele said. “We created family fitness night to educate parents about what goes on in physical education and to provide parents with resources and activities that they can do at home.”
This year, families were introduced to the YouTube page SouthdownPE. The page was developed as a community service project that shares the student created “physical snacks” with teachers, students and families around the world. The “snacks” consist of videos running in length from 1-5 minutes using a green screen to create animated exercise sessions.
At Southdown’s recent family fitness night, Mrs. Hefele got participant’s hearts pumping with a game of “fitness four corners with a fruit smoothie twist.” The high intensity cardiovascular activity highlights the five components of health related physical fitness and uses the motivational Roulette Wheel app.
Mr. Romano followed by introducing two fitness activities involving the use of a regular deck of playing cards, which incorporated exercise into games. The classic card game “War” was a student favorite.
“Each pair of students was given a deck of cards and a card that had exercises listed for each number of the card,” Mr. Romano explained. “The second game involved scattering all the cards on the ground and picking any card at random. The students were to identify the card on the suit exercise chart and then perform that exercise as a group. These types of exercise games can be easily performed at home so students and parents have the opportunity to exercise together.”
Families went on to participate in a cooperative activity based of the story “A Very Hungry Caterpillar,” which saw everyone working across the gym to collect their food items.
At the end of the night families were encouraged to stay and enjoy a healthy snack while creating a new ‘physical snack.’ Parents and students exercised together in front of the green screen.
“It was a great night of exercise and fun for our Southdown family,” Mr. Oshrin.