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Game On Grant Jump-starts a More Active Recess

Celebration K-8 School
Celebration, Florida

When the School District of Osceola County, Florida, implemented a mandatory daily recess policy for elementary students during the 2016-17 school year, Celebration K-8 School faced a challenge: With a drastically increased number of students using the recess area throughout the day, how could they provide additional opportunities for physical activity to help the kids get their recommended 60 minutes?

A $1,000 Game On Grant from Action for Healthy Kids, funded by CSX Transportation, jump-started their efforts. In addition to installing portable soccer goals on a vacant field in the recess area, the school purchased small fitness equipment such as balls, cones, jump ropes and hula-hoops to encourage students to engage in moderate-to-high-intensity physical activity. Parent Laure Dejeant, named a 2017 AFHK Healthy School Hero for her superstar dedication to child wellness, also organized a team of community volunteers to paint floor activities throughout the shaded portion of the recess area, including four square, hopscotch, a “jump and move” circuit, an agility ladder, and more.

The result? The students began jumping, skipping, hopping and running during their 20-minute daily recess, resulting in improved behavior in the classroom and overall academic performance.

“The Action for Healthy Kids grant empowered our students to MOVE more and interact with peers,” said Assistant Principal Cheryl Cassano. “Soccer is played at recess now. The grant provided structure to free time, making students and teachers much happier.”

The school further promoted a culture of health by implementing other nutrition- and physical activity-related initiatives: gardening, educational taste tests, active brain breaks, family nights, walk/bike to school events, and more.

“It’s amazing to see the administration, teachers, PTA and community work together as a team to instill positive habits early in the students’ lives,” Cassano said. “It’s WORKING!”