The Fit, Fun School I Wish My Kids Could Go To

By Lauren Gelman from original

The Fit, Fun School I Wish My Kids Could Go To
It’s easy to sound the alarm on childhood obesity—and share the shocking stats (rates have tripled in the last three decades). It’s much harder, however, to take the steps to fight it—especially for schools, as so many districts have faced devastating budget cuts.

That makes the story of Red Hawk Elementary School in Erie, Colorado, even more impressive.

The school is one of two winners in the Active Schools Acceleration Project, a nationwide contest to unearth and then replicate the most innovative school fitness programs. Red Hawk students enjoy two 20-minute energy-boosting fitness sessions every day (in addition to recess or scheduled PE class). They have special “power walking” paths in the hallways and they dance, stretch, and take cardio breaks (pictured above) before starting math and science, the most challenging subjects.

And talk about TGIF: Every Friday, the school’s 460 students, faculty, and staff head outside to participate in a coordinated fitness routine set to popular music, like Katy Perry.

Most importantly, the kids love it. One survey found that 95 percent of Red Hawk third to fifth graders look forward to coming to school. Staying active feels like a fun, baked-in part of their day instead of a chore or an embarrassing gym class (I, for one, am still a little traumatized by rope climbing and square dancing—anyone else?)

As a winner, Red Hawk won a $100,000 grant to advance the program throughout their district. Read about the other winning school (California’s Corona-Norco Unified School District and its cool 100-Mile Club) and the inspiring finalists (who each earned $25,000 grants) here.

Photo credit: Lewis Geyer/Longmont (Colo.) Times-Call