Dance, Dance Dance!—Little Fort Elementary Moves in the Morning
Enrolled in both the Alliance’s Healthy Schools Program and Let’s Move! Active Schools, Little Fort Elementary students in Waukegan, IL start each morning ready to move!
From the teachers and students in the classrooms to the principal and administrators in the hallways, every morning after the Pledge of Allegiance, Little Fort Elementary is filled with dancers. Morning Music, Little Fort’s new activity tradition, makes movement mandatory for students and staff alike for five minutes every morning. Student-requested songs—ranging from Top 40 hits to Disney songs to the Beatles—fill the building. According to teachers, getting active in the morning helps students focus for the day and catalyze a culture shift around incorporating activity into the school day.
The Start of the Move
The idea grew out of school nurse Mary Colver’s desire to increase physical education and activity during the school day as at the time, the students had only 25 minutes of physical education a day, instead of the recommended 30. Armed with research on the benefits of physical activity on academic performance and bolstered by her determination, Colver made her case to the school principal. Colver believes the research, was critical in securing Dr. LaViolette’s support, which has made Little Fort’s active transformation possible.
Collaborative Efforts Result in More Movement!
Always on the lookout for creative new ways to integrate physical activity into the school day, Colver joined forces with music teacher Anne Kobitter to add a dance and movement element to music class. Additionally, the two use music to teach health concepts to students and wrote their own hand-washing rap for fifth graders!
You Can Move More Too!
With only an iPod and some music gift cards—though she firmly believes that all her ideas, specifically Morning Music, can be implemented at little to no cost using the equipment already available to a school—Colver has catalyzed a transformation in Little Fort’s culture in only a year. Colver hopes to spread Morning Music to other schools. “This is so transferrable!” she said. “It’s all about what activates the brain.”
How do you work movement into the day?