WAYLAND, Mich. (May 7, 2014) — As childhood obesity continues to be a concern across the country, many realize the important of starting kids on a healthy lifestyle as soon as possible. And, one West Michigan Elementary school is among the first in the area to get kids moving in a way, specially made for them.
What looks and sounds like the group fitness classroom at your local gym, is actually a classroom at Baker Elementary School in Wayland.
“With the winter we just had, it was certainly put to good use,” said Jim Orlowski, physical education teacher at Baker Elementary.
He created this ‘mini’ gym a way for kids as young as kindergarten to get exercise during all the indoor recess days over the past few winters. But he found out, it’s going much further than just a way for them to burn off that energy.
“Not only is it giving these kids a chance to get rid of pent-up energy, but it also enhances their performance in the classroom,” explained Orlowski. “The teachers can bring them down, spend 15 minutes with them and kind of get rid of that energy and they can get back to class, refocus and finish their lesson.”
Stationary bikes, elliptical, and stair-steppers, all specially built for a child and paid for through grant money by the Wayland Union Education Foundation and private donors.
The total cost was about $6,000.
Orlowski says it’s so important to get kids hooked on healthy habits as young as possible and thinks the idea will eventually catch on with other districts.
“Our district is really going to promote this activity as not only a way to give these kids an outlet for all that energy on indoor recess days, but again, academically.”
“The program has only been around a little over a year so they haven’t had a chance to really track the progress in the classroom. But Orlowski is positive it can only be a big benefit to the community.