When students get to move at school, they perform better.
Two studies conducted in Mississippi found that academic achievement improved as student fitness levels increased, while absenteeism and behavioral episodes also declined.
Put simply: Things get better when students move at school.
Many schools throughout the state cannot provide students with adequate physical activity opportunities. Understanding this, The Bower Foundation partnered with The Mississippi Department of Education Office of Healthy Schools to launch Move to Learn across Mississippi in 2012.
Move to Learn started as a campaign to highlight and promote success stories of schools creatively incorporating physical activity into the school day; however, Bower still perceived a need to bring movement into the classroom.
The partnership also launched a website (movetolearnms.org) that included a series of five-minute streaming fitness videos, information about the importance of physical activity in schools, and a database of hundreds of healthy lesson plans.
The video feature Mississippi students exercising to music in a classroom and logged over 86,000 online views in the 2012-2013 school year.
Meanwhile, the website had over 71,000 visits at that same time. The viewership has grown tremendously over the last decade, and the face of Move to Learn, Coach Calhoun, is a star in the eyes of elementary students throughout Mississippi.
Additionally, Move to Learn also started conducting in-school visits. Students love these! Coach Larry Calhoun – a fitness instructor in the Clinton Public Schools, leads school-wide assemblies in various exercises and affirmations while also sharing healthy habits.
Log onto Facebook live every weekday morning at 9:00 AM with Coach Larry Calhoun for a “Brain Break.” Coach Calhoun then thanks parents, teachers, and students for joining him, beginning with an educational hook while often using a fun prop to get the children’s attention. At that time, he walks the audience through multiple “I am” affirmations: “I am strong. I am smart. I am loved. I am one of a kind.”
Next, Coach Calhoun leads a brain break, coaching students through a five-minute dance to boost their energy. At the end of the video, Calhoun brings the student’s energy levels back down, so they are calm and ready to focus when they return to their activity or work.
“The health of Mississippi’s children is critically important. A great way to reach children is in the classroom because pre-COVID, about half a million children were in a classroom setting per day. When we look at Mississippi’s trends for children who are overweight, it’s alarming. It inspired us to think about how to partner with the Mississippi Department of Education to align with the notion that if our bodies are healthier, our brains function better,” said Anne Travis, CEO of The Bower Foundation.
The Bower Foundation’s work with the Mississippi Department of Education focuses on aligning health and the ability to engage in educational activities. Much of their work also centers on children’s nutrition.
Recently Move to Learn Team debuted a redesigned website and a new collection of FREE classroom videos to help teenage students shake out their energy and regain focus, in addition to the popular Pre-K-6th grade videos.
Educators and parents throughout the Magnolia state can join Coach Calhoun on Facebook live during the week or access several Move to Learn videos anytime on YouTube.