Students move to help them learn

Published 7:00 am Saturday, February 15, 2014

HIGH FIVE: Coach Larry Calhoun introduces himself to the students at Pearl River Central Upper Elementary before the Move to Learn presentation began.  Photo by Alexandra Hedrick

HIGH FIVE: Coach Larry Calhoun introduces himself to the students at Pearl River Central Upper Elementary before the Move to Learn presentation began.
Photo by Alexandra Hedrick

Move to Learn, a program sponsored by The Bower Foundation and Mississippi Department of Education, came to Pearl River County Upper Elementary on Tuesday to introduce students, teachers and administrators to the Move to Learn initiative.

Based on studies that have shown physical activity increases a child’s ability to learn, the Move to Learn initiative, which includes short, simple movement exercise videos, was created.

Coach Larry Calhoun, the star of the Move to Learn exercise videos, led the program on Tuesday and spoke to the children about the importance of sleep, water and laughter for your health.

Students were asked to stand up and follow the videos in between talks on a healthy lifestyle.

Calhoun said children taking small exercise breaks helps students “get rid of the wiggles” and also helps them focus and concentrate.

The Move to Learn videos feature Calhoun leading students in simple movement exercises that can be done in a small space. Teachers are noticing that incorporating the fitness breaks in the classroom has increased their students’ ability to learn and to focus on schoolwork. The fitness breaks help teachers create positive learning environments and promote effective classroom management.

“Improving nutrition and physical activity levels for Mississippi school children is a priority; healthy children are more likely to be academically successful,” said Anne Travis, CEO of The Bower Foundation.

The foundation has partnered with the Mississippi Dept. of Education Office of Healthy Schools to improve the health of students statewide through the program. “Brief physical activity and increased fitness improve learning and test scores. With this in mind, Move to Learn was designed to be fun for students, improve learning, and assist teachers with classroom management,” said Scott Clements, Director of MDE’s Office of Healthy Schools.

During the presentation, Calhoun also taught students how to deal with bully situations. Calhoun called them “cool comebacks.” The comebacks are something a child can say to the bully and then walk away. After the student walks away, Calhoun said they should not speak to the bully for the rest of the day.

“Teachers and parents can’t always be around, but social skills will always help,” Calhoun said.

“We have already introduced Move to Learn briefly to our faculty and students and we are looking forward to fully implementing this program,” said Vol White, assistant principal at PRC Upper Elementary.