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NEBRASKA OPENING DAY SPOTLIGHT
Hartman Elementary School,
Making Fitness Fun For Students
Project Fit America, a growing part of schools' curriculum
Childhood obesity has tripled in the past three decades, and a national non-profit group is trying to help reverse that trend.
Hartman Elementary and Kellom Elementary join six other Omaha Public Schools to become part of Project Fit America. The organization provided grant money, with the help of sponsors Blue Cross-Blue Shield and the Omaha Schools Foundation, to bring state-of-the-art fitness equipment to the school grounds.The primary-colored monkey bars, climbing poles and other basic-looking pieces, combine to work out every muscle in the body when used properly. Teachers had to go through training after the equipment was installed, to make sure and give the proper instruction to students. Now, more than two weeks later, students are off the ground and running.
"We have some soccer teams, basketball teams, a walking club. So this just came along and fit right in with what we were headed," said Hartman's P.E. teacher, Beth Spizman. "The kids love it."
Amaya Muldiew, a 6th grader, found the hula-hooping one of the easier exercises. It was the step-ups that proved the most challenging. "You've just gotta keep going up and down," she said, "but it keeps your legs moving."
Fourth grader Ethan Green added, "It's good, I guess. It kind of wears you out."
Students, Spizman said, are finding they can mimic some of the same exercises at home. "They're having a blast," she said. "So they forget this is good for them." She said students are trying to improve their performance, competing with their peers.
"We add games to it," said. "We kind of make it into a Biggest Loser challenge where they have to do a task and come get a reward for it. Just endless opportunities."
Muldiew said the program is shaping the way she feels about fitness. "You always want to stay in shape," she said. "You don't just want to sit around and eat ice cream all day."
From the Omaha Public Schools Newsletter: