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Starting the Day With Play at Audubon Park School

Audubon Park School
Orlando, Florida

Parents of students attending the new Audubon Park School knew when the doors of the school opened for the first time in August 2018, they wanted healthy options available when their children walked through those doors. The active Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) met with the school administration early in 2018 to discuss options to increase physical activity, healthy eating options, and health education that were fun and engaging.

Members of the PTSA noticed that during typical PTSA meetings, children sat still, often on their electronic devices, or bored—and they realized just how necessary new physical activity opportunities are. They decided that all students would be offered morning active time in the courtyard, blacktop, and track area. With the support of the PTSA and administration gathered, all that was needed was funding for carts that would hold equipment (large group game pieces, balls, team jersey covers, hula hoops, etc.), outdoor games like large chess sets, and music that would draw students into the active spaces.

The only problem? The PTSA couldn’t find an organization that would work with a school that hadn’t opened their doors…until they found Action for Healthy Kids. Allison Hannon, Media Specialist at Audubon Park School, served as the Media Specialist at Glenridge Middle School and was familiar with AFHK’s school grants program. In partnership with Francee Williams, Audubon Park PTSA President, Hannon reached out to the Florida State Coordinator to discuss grant opportunities and then applied for a Parents for Healthy Kids grant sponsored by ALDI.

As expected, students have gravitated towards the large games and equipment available before and after school and during events like PTSA meetings. “What a joy to offer our families and students a place to play together during meeting waiting times and before and after school!” said Francee Williams, PTSA President.

But it doesn’t stop there. The student media class has created several promos and videos showcasing morning active time and other events. The equipment purchased for this grant has been used for Family Game Nights at the school, which are evening get-togethers on the green lawn and track area.

As a result of this grant, students at Audubon Park School have increased their daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity minutes. Hannon said, “Having the extra equipment has been great to increase movement around the school. We look forward to using remaining grant funds to implement taste testing and a school cookbook.”