A recent study conducted by the Center for Disease Control found that childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years. Video games are starting to become the predominant way kids interact, but a few classrooms are changing the way kids think about movement.
Mrs. Donovan’s third grade class at Superior Hills Elementary is gearing up for one of their favorite activities.
“It feels so good to do it, wow I don’t know how to explain,” said Emma, a 3rd grader at Superior Hills.
It’s called Free 2 Play. Through a series of instructional videos, students systematically develop their physical prowess while learning about the body’s functional abilities.
“The program is set up in such a way that it follows a specific routine and order, which is good for kids, good for human beings, they know what to expect,” said Mrs. Donovan.
Each exercise starts off focusing on a certain plane. From there, their virtual coach demonstrates the correct course of movement and teaches them the benefits of using the proper form.
“I learned tons of exercise I’d never done before,” Emma beamed.
“When you move, it helps getting some of your muscles and joints to move. If you don’t move those muscles or joints every now and then, when you actually need to move them, they get sore and lazy and they can’t move as far,” explained Jayden, a 3rd grader at Superior Hills.
And they’re not slouches. They’ve vowed to do it everyday.
“Sometimes, in the madness of the day, I might forget to scoot Free 2 Play into a piece of our day. I might forget, but the kids never forget. They always remind me, ‘Mrs. Donovan we haven’t done Free 2 Play yet.'” Mrs. Donovan noted.
While the kids are excited to get up and move around, it’s not their sole motivation.
“We get to learn a bunch of sign language, that’s one of my favorite parts,” Jayden exclaimed.
Every lesson ends with a different word or phrase in sign.
“You are awesome,” Jayden signed.
And the learning doesn’t stop there.
“I’ve also used it in front of assessment time. When it’s really important to wake up our bodies and our minds, and we can be the best thinkers that we can be,” remarked Mrs. Donovan.
“Usually, we do a math test after it, and I’m like ‘Boom, boom, boom.’ There’s 64 when we’re grading and I would get 64, 64, 64. It was kind of like, ‘Wow! What happened to my brain?'” laughed Emma.
In an age when almost everything costs money, this program stands alone.
“It’s free which is really wonderful. So my children can take what they’ve learned home, and introduce it to their friends and families by sharing the link,” finished Donovan.
“I’m going to keep on doing it. I’m going to see if my mom will let me on her computer and we’re going to all do it, hopefully,” Jayden smirked.
That’s the goal. Spread the word, get active, and learn what movement literacy really is, no matter the age.