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Getting 60 Minutes of Play Per Day

Melody STEM Elementary School
Chicago, IL

Kids Playing in a GymMany of the students at Melody STEM Elementary School do not have an opportunity to play outdoors due to seasonal weather, time constraints, and community safety. During the school day, they are allotted 1 hour of daily physical activity, which is often implemented through indoor recess. Melody STEM Elementary School is a part of a school district that often lacks the resources to give students valuable play time – whether structured or unstructured. With the help of a $1,000 Game On grant from Action for Healthy Kids sponsored by the Chicago Cubs (through the Robert R. McCormick Foundation), the school was able to overcome these obstacles and generate fun, engaging opportunities for students to get active and healthy.

Staff at Melody STEM Elementary purchased equipment targeted to develop students’ gross motor skills such as bikes, different types of balls, hula hoops, jump ropes, basketball hoops, etc. During two 30-minute blocks, the school now offers one structured and one unstructured block of play time for students to get engaged with other students through team sports, competitions, and more. Michelle Stewin, Head Teacher at Melody STEM Elementary, shared, “Students have learned ways to cooperate, negotiate, and share items during play time. The grant has allowed us to purchase equipment that students can use during their activity time and allows us to structure play so that it addresses students’ interests and different needs.”

The Melody STEM Elementary staff has brought an array of health and wellness programs to their students in an innovative manner. This team has made a significant positive impact on their school environment, students, and teachers due to the work that was developed from the grant. With support from Action for Healthy Kids, the school is now able to provide more quality physical activity time and utilize pivotal indoor time to be active. Melody STEM Elementary School looks to continue their success in the future by building upon the changes they made this school year and meeting the needs and interests of students.