Preschoolers 'Exercise' their Joy

Preschoolers 'Exercise' their Joy
Posted on 08/30/2018
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The District’s youngest learners demonstrated Bear Crawls, Jumping Jacks and Pushups. They squirmed in place a little, too. After all, they’re preschoolers. So, some skipped the pushups altogether and joyfully danced to music as their preschool teachers led them in a “workout.”

The brief exercise session concluded with each child receiving a Gold Medal presented by Board Member Laurie K. Humphrey.

The fitness-related fun was part of the Grand Opening Dedication and Open House for the District’s new Wellness Center on August 28. The First Five funded program improves the quality of preschool programs, supports Early Education initiatives involving staff, and educates a Preschool students 'exercise' their joy, jumping and of adults in nutrition, physical fitness and overall well-being. An objective is for teachers to show our youngest learners the importance of leading a healthy and active lifestyle.

“They are better learners when they feel good about themselves,” Humphrey told the audience of parents and District staff. “I’m a former teacher in the District. I know the importance of physical fitness in the classroom and teaching good nutritional habits. Those two start in the home. …Now, our teachers can improve their own health while learning new activities for their classes. Your little ones are on their way to a healthier life.”

Exercise equipment lines the walls of the District's new Wellness Center.Preschool teachers Albert Decima of Myrtle S. Finney Elementary and Maria “Mila” Valadez of Otay Elementary each noted that they participate in District fitness classes, modeling and adopting healthy behaviors and learning activities that they can adapt to their respective classrooms.

And that’s exactly the point, said Superintendent Francisco Escobedo, Ed.D. He noted that student obesity rates have dropped 17 percent Districtwide since 2010. School gardens, healthy meal choices, and physical fitness instruction all contribute to a healthier student body. The Wellness Center will assist staff and teachers in achieving positive fitness goals.

“Children model adult behaviors from a very early age,” Dr. Escobedo said. “We want to empower our teachers to confidently and authentically demonstrate the positive effects of healthy choices for our youngest learners.”

The Wellness Center is adorned with “Live Well Chula Vista” banners. It is located in an upper parking lot of the CVESD Education Service and Support Center, 84 East J Street. Fitness classes are offered at no cost to employees on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. The Thursday 5 p.m. class is a Yoga class. The District offers Interval training classes under the coordination of Mike Cothrine (kneeling in photo, center).

Rita Palet, the District’s Director of Early Childhood Education, noted that the center is housed in a refurbished trailer and cost about $50,000. District fitness classes were previously offered in a preschool meeting room. The new center opens up numerous possibilities.

“It’s extremely exciting,” Palet said. “We have one building dedicated to wellness. Now, not only do we have a better facility for the 12 classes we offer per week, we can look at expanding and extending what we do to reach more people.”
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