Success Story

Submitted by: Jessica Valencia-Kuhm, San Cayetano Elementary School

Healthy Eating Play

We have a fitness club going on every Monday after school for kindergarten through 2nd grade. We have about 45 students and it is an hour long. We recently did a healthy trail mix food demo for them and they really loved it. The other teacher that helps out with this club and I both wanted to show them how fun it could be to try a healthy trail mix. We offered Cheerios, Chex, and Kix cereals, raisins, and small chocolate chips, and we had them pick what they wanted to put in their bowl. Students seem to want to try new things. A lot of students at our schools have not tried some of the things we have them try when we do food demonstrations. They enjoy it, and it is really cool to see how they take the recipe home and teach their family members how to make the stuff we do here.

Physical Activity Play

There are many different reasons why I started Active Recess at San Cayetano Elementary School. All the P.E. teachers in Santa Cruz County were given a training from the University of Arizona Healthy Living Training Center on how to run active recess at our schools. I really fell in love with the idea from the beginning.

I talked to our principal and mentioned how much active recess would benefit our students and she absolutely thought it would be a great thing for our school. I got together with our FUTP60 S.W.A.T. and they gave me a lot of ideas on what kind of equipment they would like to see out during recess. I thought about just training our S.W.A.T students that way they could help during recess lead the activities. But then I also took into consideration how that wouldn’t be fair for them to be in charge of zones all the time so I decided to train all kindergarten through 5th classes.

What I did was draw where every zone would go on our schools playground map. I also put the amount of equipment that would be in every zone. Then, I made copies of the map and gave it to the monitors and trained them on how things should be used and how the students would be helping them put away the equipment. The zones for active recess right now are: soccer zone (in this zone students can also play kick ball), football catch, throw & kick zone, Frisbee zone, hula hoop and jump rope zone, volleyball zone and basketball zone. I mentioned to the students that I would be changing the zones in a couple of months depending on how well they used this equipment and monitors input.

In March, I will be training the students on different zones that I will be putting out during recess like: agility ladders, scoopers and balls, badminton rackets and birdies and some other fun stuff. The main reason why I did this was because I wanted to make sure students were engaged during recess and had options. I told them that they could go use any zone they wanted to use as long as they put the equipment back where they got it from.

When I ask the students what they think about active recess they tell me they LOVE IT! I ask them why and they tell me they just simply have more options during recess and they feel like they are more involved and not just hanging around. I help the monitors set up in the morning for morning recess and since the 5th graders are the last ones to be out there for after lunch recess they are the ones that are responsible to gather the equipment and help the monitors put it away. Students do need to be reminded once in a while to put away the equipment but for the most part they do help the monitors a lot when it comes to putting the equipment away.

Our principal supports us a lot. When I go out there to watch how the students are doing during recess I have seen her out there playing with some of the equipment with our students. The monitors are also great, they really like the idea of having active recess and they feel students are not getting in trouble as much, less injuries (the zones are spread out on our field) and the students seem more involved. Overall, active recess has been really successful and I really enjoy going out there and watching the students being physically active and before going back to class.