Miss Connecticut, Sen. Markley and Teachers Get Moving!

August 24, 2012
Cross Lateralization activity was led by Dr. Marybeth Fede and Carol Ciotto also in the photo Marcia Phelps, physical education teacher, Sen. Joe Markley and Miss Connecticut Emily Audibert.

Cross Lateralization activity was led by Dr. Marybeth Fede and Carol Ciotto also in the photo Marcia Phelps, physical education teacher, Sen. Joe Markley and Miss Connecticut Emily Audibert.

We are fighting Childhood Obesity

Southington CT – Active Classrooms promote wellness in education and on Thursday August 23, Senator Joe Markley, Miss Connecticut Emily Audibert and Physical Education Teacher Marcia Phelps put the idea on display at Southington’s Hatton Elementary School.

“Kids need to move around during the day. The connection between body and mind is very important to successful learning,” said Marcia Phelps.

Sen. Joe Markley and Miss Connecticut Emily Audibert trying another activity with a hoola hoop.
Sen. Joe Markley and Miss Connecticut Emily Audibert trying another activity with a hoola hoop.

A workshop entitled, Connect – Communicate – Cooperate – Collaborate was held in the cafeteria. Along with Phelps, Dr. Marybeth Fede of Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU) and Carol Ciotto of Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) put this initiative together with the goal of making all Connecticut schools physically active school systems. During the day long course teachers from kindergarten to fifth grade learned about active classroom activities and how to best bring the idea into their daily curriculum.

Senator Joe Markley added, “A healthy body equals a healthy mind –and good health is a benefit to our whole society.”

Hatton Elementary School is the pilot location for the active classroom in this district. In an effort to help kids stay healthy the active classrooms would replace the traditional lesson plan of sitting and listening with active participation. Teachers will connect learning and motion in an effort to get the kids to move.

Miss Connecticut, Emily Audibert from Wolcott has chosen to utilize her title to champion the fight against childhood obesity. “One in three children in America is overweight or obese; this is a dangerous epidemic that is in desperate need of attention and help,” said Miss Connecticut, Emily Audibert.

One English teacher experimented with using teams in her classroom. Each team had to act out words on a card to show the difference between adverbs and verbs. The teacher said spelling and math are the easiest subjects to showcase movement in a lesson plan.

Marcia Phelps said, “As our awareness to childhood obesity increases we need to be proactive. Anytime we can help a child fight obesity we will win.”

The active classroom idea has been studied extensively by Mayo Clinic researcher Dr. James Levine. In Southington teachers hope to further the active classroom to a point where the traditional desk and chairs will be replaced with adjustable podiums that allow students to stand, or sit on big exercise balls.

Senator Markley would like to see the idea of active classrooms catch on. “I would like to invite Education Commissioner Stephan Pryor to this pilot program at the Hatton School. He will see what I see – educators taking learning to the next level. It’s a terrific program that all Connecticut children could benefit from,” said Sen. Markley.