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Crunches Before Lunches

Jennifer Cedeno is the Principal at Terence C. Reilly No. 7 in Elizabeth, New Jersey

Our goal at Terence C. Reilly is inspire to develop and maintain a healthy, active lifestyle. Recess before lunch is one of the systemic ways that we help them do this throughout the school day. Recess at Reilly includes physical fitness as part of the regular forty-five minute lunch routine. Here’s how it works:

For 20 minutes prior to eating, our students engage in a dynamic and organized recess routine that helps boost students’ metabolism in advance of eating their meal. The intent is to keep all students engaged and excited about the activities that are selected. We do this by talking to the students and asking for their input about what activities they enjoy during PE classes and wellness council meetings. As a result, we provide students with dynamic recess activities to focus on cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance, muscular strength, flexibility, and body composition. These are all technical terms, but students just know they are getting active and having fun! Here are some specifics that you can replicate in your school:

The Reilly Recess Circuit is set-up with 15 stations incorporating the following activities:

  • Lower extremity exercises (i.e. squats, lunges, etc.)
  • Upper extremity exercises (i.e. push-ups, pull-ups, bicep curls, tricep extensions etc.)
  • Plyometric exercises (i.e. step-ups, ski jumps, squat-thrust/burpees),
  • Core training exercises (i.e. sit-ups, bicycle kicks, supermans etc.)
  • Mini obstacle course

We also incorporate seasonal sport-related activities such as soccer games, basketball games, speedball, volleyball games, softball games, tennis games, flag football games as well as many other activities. The goal is to always keep the activities fresh and fun which in turn keeps our students engaged and excited about recess and learning … and of course lunch!

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