FUEL UP TO PLAY 60
"A TOUCHDOWN SCHOOL"
In October, Mohawk Elementary received a grant from Fuel Up to Play 60 and The American Dairy Association. This grant was used in support of the Healthier U. S. School Challenge Grant the district had received.
The focus of this grant was to educate the students, staff and community about creating and promoting lifelong healthy eating habits and also the importance and benefits of physical activity. As we looked to take the district to a healthier level, we encouraged students to bring in healthy snacks and treats, made our classroom parties healthier and started offering low-fat milk at concession stands. Studies show that students who start the day with a good breakfast have improved memory, problem-solving skills, verbal fluency and creative abilities. Studies also say that students who are physically active during the day are less likely to be distracted or become a behavior problem in class and have increased academic achievement.
The program is coordinated by Nelle Nutter and team members are Heidi Fortney, Andrea Hoerig, Erin Patrizi, Tony Patrizi and Gina Wyman.
With the money, the team purchased physical fitness equipment to be used in an “Activity Room” for rainy days and physical activity breaks. Teachers can take their students to the room and use jump ropes, cones, hop-a-long balls, stability balls, bosu balls and agility ladders. On rainy days students can play one of the many Wii Dance games on the console that was also purchased.
“Learning the Moves” activity was implemented on Tuesdays and Thursdays where students can stay after school to have a healthy snack, stretch and run laps, and then play the Wii dance/activity games. Students come once a week and earn prizes from the Fuel Up store with every five times they attend. What started out with approximately 40 students signed up has turned into 137 students who attend regularly!
The money was also used to purchase Ninja Blenders which have been used to make fruit smoothies on Tuesday mornings for breakfast, for Smoothies at classroom parties and also used for incentives per classroom. The Fuel Up Team uses the blenders to make fresh smoothies every week. Typically banana, strawberry and a mango-pineapple mixture are served, but there have been special mixes that went along with the holidays: on Valentine’s Day students were offered a chocolate-cherry smoothie, St. Patrick’s Day turned the smoothies green with mint-chocolate and we are looking to come up with something special for Easter and the end of the school year. We have seen as many as 209 smoothies sold in one morning!