Students at one Bloomington grade school are getting a healthy start to the day.
Educators at Oakland Elementary believe Heart Start is making students more prepared to learn.
School starts about 20 minutes early each day for one grade to walk and jog in the school gym to get their blood pumping and help them focus for the day.
The Heart Start program was physical education teacher Bethany Romer's idea. She started it last year with third-graders at the school as a pilot project for a study she was conducting for her master’s degree. This year it was expanded to grades two through five.
“Where (students) would normally come in, sit in the hallway, read a book, possibly whisper—some classes whisper to their friends, but it’s always hard to keep control of them,” Romer said. “I’ve always thought these kids need to be up and moving.”
Principal David LaFrance said Heart Start has made students more alert and attentive.
“Kids who sometimes would stroll in at the last minute are now showing up early,” LaFrance said. “The kids are really showing an effort to be here in the morning.”
Heart Smart generally consists of walking and jogging in a circle for 15 to 20 minutes. That’s in addition to the 90 minutes of physical education each student gets weekly.
It's light exercise, but fourth-grader Miles Smith said it sets a positive mood for the day.
“It helps you pay attention more and it helps you not be so bored in class so you have energy,” he said.
Fourth-grader Miles Roth said the exercise helps him focus in the classroom.
“It pumps your heart up so you can calm down for the day,” he said.
Romer added since the program started, students have had fewer disciplinary warnings.
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