Nicholson Elementary receives grant for new fitness program

Published 7:00 am Friday, March 17, 2017

Nicholson Elementary School students are ready to lace up their tennis shoes and engage in a variety of outside activities under new fitness program.
The school recently received a $28,000 grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi to instate the Project Fit America program at the school, Assistant Principal Lisa Howie said.
The school’s new physical education teacher, Kasey Penton, researched the program and applied for the grant, Howie said.
“Over the past few years, we’ve seen kids not going outside and not playing as much as we did when we’re were small,” Howie said.
Under the new program, she hopes the students will be excited about exercising outside.
“It gives them the opportunity to do something other than just one sport,” Penton said.
The grant will help pay for an outdoor exercise station, Howie said. The proposed structure includes pull up bars, climbing poles, sit up stations and other exercise equipment that entices students to remain active, the organization’s website states.
The students will be trained how to use the equipment as it becomes part of their new physical education curriculum, Howie said.
It’s not just the physical education classes that can use the equipment, Penton said. Teachers can plan lessons around it during recess to encourage more physical activity.
The program also provides indoor equipment like fitness cups, weighted hoops, medicine balls and jump ropes, Penton said.
It also provides them with exposure to new exercise equipment and resources, she said.
With the added curriculum about healthy eating, living and exercise, Penton said she’s excited for the new program.
One of the most interesting aspects of the program will be a skeleton activity where students can earn cash prizes for correctly placed bones, she said.
The students already know a little bit about the program, Howie said. Part of the program requires the school to collect data over the next two years to track its success, she said.
To prepare, they’ve been running on the track.
Students and parents are invited to attend a kid’s one-mile run in Long Beach on April 8 for free, Howie said.
The school administration is meeting this week to discuss plans for the new program and when it will be put in place, Howie said.

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About Julia Arenstam

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