Edinbrook Elementary and Fair Oaks Elementary are among 14 Minnesota schools to receive a $1,000 “Game On” grant from Action for Healthy Kids® (AFHK) for the 2016-2017 school year. Provided through funding from Saputo Inc., Game On grants seek to expand student access to physical activity and healthy eating, as well as engage parents in activities that reinforce healthy habits at home.
Anne Strootman, resource manager at Fair Oaks Elementary, said she applied for her school’s Game On grant last spring with input from Behavior Intervention Teacher Brian Thul and Kitchen Manager Kari Aydt. She said Fair Oaks will use the grant money to implement structured “brain break” activities.
“Studies have shown that brief classroom physical activity breaks are associated with improved cognitive performance, classroom behavior and educational outcomes among students,” Strootman added. “We will be using our grant monies…to subscribe to a web-based service that has kid-friendly structured brain break activities. In addition, we will be purchasing classroom fitness dice and yoga pose posters.”
At Edinbrook Elementary, Physical Education Teacher Ann Kozarek said her school used the grant money to purchase fitness testing equipment, including those used for flexibility and push-ups.
“Each year we will do a baseline assessment in the fall, continue some formative assessments throughout the winter, and then do final fitness testing in the spring,” noted Kozarek. “The fitness testing equipment will be used with all students in grades 1-5 and will give us more accurate scores in a more efficient time frame.”
Due to its focus on establishing healthy habits in school and at home, both Strootman and Kozarek said receiving the Game On grant at their respective sites will have positive impacts on students – and their families – this year.
“We feel these classroom brain-energizer activities will increase our students’ ability to focus and stay engaged throughout the day,” Strootman said.