The Running Club: Early Morning Movement for School Success
January 9, 2017
This Monday marks the 5th year of my school wide movement initiative: The Running Club!
The Running Club is an early morning exercise program that's designed to help students transition from their commute to their school day. This is achieved by having some students go directly from their bus to the school's gymnasium where they run laps for 20 minutes. After that they go to their classroom and start their day, energized, alert, and ready to learn!
The students who are selected for this program are kiddo's who have a difficult time alerting (waking up) and getting to center to start their day. Not being "just right" or "at center" when you start your day is difficult for most people, but if you are a child who have difficulty self-regulating this is doubly difficult. By changing the school environment, and the child's routine, they are put in a position where they are given the critical input they need to start their day successfully. The twenty minutes of vigorous exercise helps students start their day on an even keel, bringing their baseline closer to "center", which helps makes the many demands of the school day easier to tolerate.
Starting this program required a lot of collaboration, planning, and research to gain buy in. Seeing the benefit this program has had was worth the extra work, and now seeing the program 5 years out is extremely gratifying. Even more gratifying was having parents of student's who had participated in the past, request the program at the beginning of the year. Knowing that this is something that the students go home and tell their parents about - and that it's sometimes the highlight of their day - motivates me to keep doing it and to keep thinking of other ways to help students gain valuable movement opportunities throughout the day.
While the program is a success in school wide collaboration, parent collaboration, and logistics, there is still room to grow! I'd love to see this program expand from a select group of students to the whole school. Perhaps longer periods of run time. And.... while difficult to achieve in the city... an outdoor run space would be just dandy!
For now.. every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings I'll be running with the kids - helping them achieve early morning movement to help start their days at center!