KP Fresno grant helps students learn new ways to stay active
Inside a third-grade classroom at Vang Pao Elementary School on a recent morning, students were counting down slowly from 10 to one.But these students weren’t working on mathematics. Instead they were on the ground counting pushups.
The pushups are just one of the many exercises these students have learned recently as part of a new physical education (PE) program underway at 65 elementary schools in the Fresno Unified School District. The new curriculum was developed with the help of a $90,000 Kaiser Permanente Fresno Healthy Eating Active Living grant.
Elementary school students in the district are now spending 200 minutes every 10 days (or 33 minutes, 5 days a week) on physical education. Sometimes they are doing activities outside. Other days – like when it’s raining or too hot – PE is done inside the classroom.
PE instructors are working alongside classroom teachers to show them exercises they can do throughout the school day. PE Instructor Christina Bedulieu said it’s important for teachers and students to recognize that exercise can be adapted to fit their space constraints.
“Even if they have to stay inside, they can run in place, do jumping jacks or even sit ups,” she said. “Anything that gets their heart rate up is good.”
Lilian Harautuneian, FUSD’s PE manager, said the grant is helping the district ensure all students are participating in some type of physical activity throughout the school day.
“We are proud of our partnership with Kaiser Permanente so our kids can be physically active for life,” she said. “Our teachers asked for assistance in training around physical fitness, and that’s what this grant is allowing us to do.”
But beyond just physical fitness, the students also are learning about ways to lead healthier lives. Throughout the 33-minute PE class on a recent day, Bedulieu asked the students questions about diabetes, such as the differences between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and what they can do to prevent getting Type 2 diabetes later in life.
Madison Khoub, 8, said her older brother has diabetes and her family makes sure he eats healthy so he doesn’t get sick. She said they try not to have soda and junk food in the house.
Bedulieu and the students also discussed the importance of drinking water, getting enough sleep, and eating more fruits and vegetables.
Angel Serta, 9, said he enjoys learning about different diseases and how he and his classmates can stay active. He said he likes learning different types of jumps he can do.
“We need PE so we can stay healthy,” he said. “It’s really important if you want to live long.”
Bedulieu ended her PE session by encouraging the students to find one activity they like to do: “Because if you like it, you’re likely to stick with it longer, which will help you stay healthy.”