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Program encourages students to be active

Teaching healthy habits

Posted: May 14, 2012 - 9:49am

It's simple -- go outside and play for half an hour three times a week after school.

That's the idea behind Play Every Day, a nationwide program designed to help kids live a healthy lifestyle.

There were two schools in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District that participated this year -- Sterling Elementary and Cooper Landing School.

At Sterling, the participation rate was about 70 percent, said Jodi Lundell, who organized the program as a parent volunteer. The program, which started in February and ended in late April, forced students to keep track of their activities outside of school with a log sheet.

"We started in the winter, and the students did find ways to still be active," Lundell said.

Students biked, ran, jumped roped, just to name a few, for activity points.

"You have to be up and moving around, that was the main focus. That you're up off your bum, that's what I told the kids," Lundell said.

Lundell said some video games would count, such as the Nintendo Wii or Xbox Kinect systems that have games requiring movement to operate.

Luke Ermold, a Sterling first grader said he used his Wii dance game along with jump rope, biking and judo to earn his activity points. His favorite activity was biking.

"I found out after we took off the training wheels after a long time, that I could ride better," he said.

Lundell's sixth grade son, Logan, said he would ride his bike with his brother and sister or go sledding for his thirty minutes a day. He said his favorite part was being able to get active and spend time playing with his siblings.

Sterling Elementary had their assembly last Monday to hand out extra incentives donated by Jumpin Junction, River City Cheer, Instant Replay, Fred Meyer and the Kenai River Brown Bears.

Over at Cooper Landing School, teacher Tom Gossard said he tied the program into a group project.

"I thought, 'You know what, this is for you guys just leading a healthy, active lifestyle,'" Gossard said about his approach. "We kept track of their time, and being that we're a small school, I ran it a little different than Sterling probably did."

Gossard said the most important part of the program was to make sure the kids weren't sitting at home playing computer games every day after school.

"Get them outside, be physical, and go out and do things," he said. "It just reinforces good habits."

Logan Tuttle can be reached at

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