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Students learn, apply health lessons on walk
Lisa Millner (from left), principal at Collinsville Primary; Marleny Rodriguez, Collinsville Primary second-grader; and Sandy Gary (behind Rodriguez), second grade teacher at Collinsville Primary; participate in Friday’s Commit to Be Fit Walk. (Bulletin photos by Ashley Jackson)
Monday, September 24, 2012
By ASHLEY JACKSON - Bulletin Staff Writer
Community members set an example for maintaining a healthy lifestyle to Collinsville Primary School students on Friday by participating in the Commit to Be Fit Walk.
Area firefighters, police officers, Henry County Schools’ central office staff, teachers, 4-H representatives, Henry County School Board members, Henry County Board of Supervisors members, parents, grandparents, retired teachers, veterans, area residents, certified trainers and representatives from the YMCA and Activate participated with students in the two-lap walk around Collinsville Primary.
Throughout the walk, students and community members chanted, “We Will Be Fit!” to show their excitement for committing themselves to good health.
“We wanted the students to know that the community supports them in being healthy,” said Lisa Millner, principal at Collinsville Primary.
When adults are active, it shows students that staying fit is “a lifelong activity,” added Cherie Whitlow, Collinsville Primary physical education teacher.
“We need to set a good example” for children as obesity rates continue to rise across the country, said Cari Zimmer with Activate.
It’s important to show children that fitness can be fun, and Zimmer hopes that having parents involved in the event will spark them to walk regularly with their children, Zimmer said.
Fitness was incorporated into every activity of the day during Fitness Week at the school, Whitlow said.
During morning announcements, there was a “word of the day” relating to fitness; in art class, students made hats picturing brains and made heart necklaces; in the library, students were read books related to fitness; and in the computer lab, students were shown iPad applications relating to the body, Whitlow said.
Also, each day in physical education class, she spoke to students about the importance of maintaining a healthy body and mind. Students did stretches that allowed them to use both hemispheres of the brain, Whitlow said, explaining that movement acts as a generator for the brain, and it enhances the growth of brain cells.
By focusing on the importance of a healthy body and mind all week, she hopes that students learned that “you never need to stop learning, and you never need to stop being fit,” Whitlow said.
After Friday’s walk, Collinsville Primary second-grader Samantha Wall said she felt energized.
She added that the walk “was really a good activity because I got to do exercises to help my brain.”
Second-grader Alex Byrd said he enjoyed the fitness walk because “we got to yell” and wore the hats they designed in art class.
Byrd stays fit by playing soccer, running and eating fruit. His favorites are kiwi and the “dinosaur eggs” (pomegranates) that he tried at school, he said.
Students are involved in healthy activities throughout the school year, Millner said.
Children are taught about healthy eating, food groups and portion sizes by 4-H representatives through 4-H’s Organ Wise program. Also, students are fed a fresh fruit and vegetable three times a week, including items that students wouldn’t normally get such as the “dinosaur eggs,” Millner said.
In the classroom, teachers incorporate exercise into their lessons such as doing jumping jacks while counting multiplication tables, Millner added.
Research has proven that exercise helps children think and recall information, she said.