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Daily Dance Parties Brighten the Day for Sumner Students

Sumner Elementary School
Austin, Minnesota

Is there a better way to start a school day than with a dance party? The students at Sumner Elementary School in Austin, Minnesota don’t think so!

Austin is a town of about 25,000 people in southeastern Minnesota. At Sumner Elementary, 85% of students qualify for free and reduced-price lunch, so the school has put a strong focus on student wellness.

Thanks to a Game On grant from Action for Healthy Kids, Sumner Elementary continues to pursue more wellness opportunities for their students, including a 15-minute dance party every morning. Yoga and mindfulness are incorporated at the end of the “party” to get students ready to focus in the classroom.

“Students are having fun while getting some good, rigorous exercise before school,” said Sheila Berger, principal at Sumner Elementary. “All students are invited to partake in our before-school dance party, and our before-school program personnel have brought more students to participate. Not only are we getting kids more active, they are learning how movement can make their bodies and minds feel better and ready to learn.”

Jess Brandt, instructional coach at Sumner, added, “The before-school dance is a lot of fun! I’ve joined in a few times myself. It’s fast paced, and kids love it. They are focused when they leave and are ready for the day.”

In addition to this increased physical activity opportunity, students learn about and make healthy snacks several times a year, including things like snack mix with craisins, almonds, and other grains.

It’s clear that Sumner Elementary is invested in making sure students are not just healthy, but energized and ready to take on the day.

This grant was made possible by funding from Cargill.