Arcola Elementary Receives Rock Wall

June 3, 2014 12:04 p.m.

Few indoor physical educational activities are as challenging and exciting as climbing on a rock wall. And Arcola Elementary School has added this addition to its gym.

Students from kindergarten to sixth grade have been logging their miles since the incentive program kicked off in late October, reaching their goal of running or walking a total of 15,000 miles. Their reward was a horizontal rock climbing wall, which is now installed at the school. The students climb across it instead of vertically, making it safer and eliminating the need for harnesses.

The challenge was presented to the entire school by Sarah Bush Lincoln’s Healthy Heroes as a way to motivate kids to keep active and develop healthy habits. Part of its Healthy Kids Education program, the Healthy Hero Challenge is funded though an $8,000 grant from WomenConnected, a giving circle within the SBL Health Foundation.

I didn’t realize when we added this to our classroom that not only would it help my students become physically stronger, but there is also the addition of problem solving that goes along with this activity,” Kim Kennel, Arcola PE teacher said. “ I love to watch the students try to figure out the best way to get across.”

Each child had an individual goal to meet based on their grade level, but in order to earn the prize, they all had to walk or run a little more. Kindergarten and first graders were asked to log four miles per month; second and third graders, six miles per month; and fourth, fifth and sixth graders, eight miles per month. Pre-post Body Mass Index reading was recorded by the school nurse, Debbie Stinger, which showed an overall drop of one BMI point in the students measured.

Though the goal seemed daunting at first, the kids were amazed by their progress in the first month. Students keep tracked their miles on a banner of Ian, one of the Healthy Heroes, climbing up a rockwall.

“It was so exciting for the students to reach their personal goal each month and work toward a collective goal that will benefit so many for years to come,” Sarah Betts, Sarah Bush Lincoln Healthy Kids Educator said. “It will be a constant reminder of their hard work and dedication!”

For more information about Sarah Bush Lincoln’s Healthy Kids Education program, contact Sarah Betts, program coordinator, at 345-6827.

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