“Heart Start” is a program where kids go into school 20 minutes early, drop their bags and begin exercising. Leaders at Oakland Elementary say it began last year with one class as a trial, but now the entire school is joining in.
“I was really interested in the effects that physical education had,” said Bethany Romer, P.E. Teacher at Oakland. “Every morning they came in and they ran or walked and we collected data to see how they were in the classroom afterward. Everything was positive that we got back.”
The program was thought of by Romer when she was taking a Master’s course on the effects physical education had on young students. After her research she made the decision to try it out in her own classroom.
When she received positive results from her fellow teachers she brought the data to Principal David LaFrance and asked if she could to implement it in more classes.
“I said definitely we should do that and we saw a lot of great strides from our third grade classes last year,” said LaFrance. “Compared to when we went to school, schools look different and kids need that energy. We do a lot to focus on their fitness and we do a lot to focus on their relationships with others.”
Currently only a couple of classes can participate in the program at a time because of the gym size. However, the school says it will work toward moving the activity outside so the entire school can participate together.