An Energizing Start to the Day at Meredith Middle School
Meredith Middle School
Des Moines, Iowa
When students used to arrive at Meredith Middle School, they would typically sit in the cafeteria and on the gymnasium bleachers waiting for the school day to begin. Now students can be seen doing yoga, pilates, soccer, and other physical activities.
To help energize students’ bodies and minds for the school day, faculty wanted to implement a before-school activity program in the fitness center to allow students the opportunity to engage in low-impact physical activity. Yet, their equipment was terribly worn down due to low funding for physical education. So the school applied for a $1,000 Game On Grant sponsored by Cargill.
Thanks to the funds and assistance from Action for Healthy Kids, Meredith Middle School introduced several activities that would take place both before and after breakfast, including yoga (for students and staff), basketball, soccer, and pilates in the fitness center and walks around the school trail. Students volunteer to help and participate in activities with the flexibility to come and go, which has worked out well and increased overall participation.
Students have loved having a variety of activities to choose from, and students who haven’t felt comfortable to participate in the past have found an activity that best fits their interests. Since implementing the program, participation in schoolwide activities has reached 67%.
“I feel more relaxed and ready for my day,” shares Natasha, a student who participates in the morning yoga program.
In addition to before-school programming, faculty at Meredith Middle School have instituted Meditation Mondays. With a nearly 100% participation rate, it has become another popular activity that has been extended to staff in the mornings as well. The best thing, reported by PE teacher Tara Stemsrud, is that students have loved it and continue to ask for more and more. Meredith Middle School is excited to begin even more programs in the coming months.