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Bournedale Elementary Students Bounce Their Way to Health

Bournedale Elementary
Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts

Kids On Pogo SticksWith the help of a $1,000 Action for Healthy Kids Game On grant, funded by GoGo squeeZ, Fall 2017 was packed with exciting new wellness programs for students at Bournedale Elementary School in Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts.

The school used a portion of the grant funds to purchase pogo sticks for every student to use during their physical education classes. Not surprisingly, they’ve been a huge hit – particularly among the third and fourth graders.

Students participated in a safety skills assessment and are required to wear protective gear, including helmets that were purchased with a PTA-sponsored grant, whenever they use their pogo sticks. PE Teacher, Kathy Cleary, said their progress has been amazing, with the students getting more confident each week.

“I am pleased with how the students helped each other with everything from putting on safety gear to explaining how to get on a pogo stick. They encouraged each other and challenged friends to break personal best records. It was wonderful to see students gain confidence and shout ‘I just beat my record!'”

In addition to helping kids get active during PE, the school made an effort to increase their physical activity before school. The Healthy Action Team started a morning running club with 65 students and 10 parent volunteers, who meet two days a week to participate in 45 minutes of activity stations before breakfast. The school also held its second Walking School Bus of the year in October, with several state troopers and local firefighters joining in for fun. Healthy Action Team Leader Kathy Cleary said the school’s parent volunteers, as well as the more than 50 fourth-grade student ambassadors who wore safety vests and escorted younger students along the route, played a key role in making the event a success.

In October, with the help of Chartwells dining services and parent volunteers, the fourth-grade ambassadors hosted a taste test in the cafeteria during lunchtime. Students sampled fresh pears and canned pears and told the ambassadors which they liked best. Fresh pears won the most votes, and more than 40 students said they would eat pears again. The ambassadors now have two taste tests planned each month for the rest of the school year.

The Healthy Action Team is busy planning future events, such as a Pogothon this spring. Says Kathy Cleary, “We are excited to transform the month of May into an all out pogo fest! We hope to become pen pals with students from two Australian elementary schools that have previously held pogo events. The theme of the event is linked to social emotional learning using a ‘Kids Matter’ and ‘Beyond Blue’ curriculum, teaching that all kids can bounce back from hard times.”