These girls enjoy talking while walking during 15 minutes of morning fitness at Hodgenville Elementary School. From front left/right are Jocelyn Corleto and Gracie Hay; Izabelly Diaz and Kyleigh Markham; and Kaylee Clark and Rachael Hammons.
By Ron Benningfield
They walk; they talk; they run, but most of all early arriving students to Hodgenville Elementary School start their day with 15 minutes of moving in what is called Morning Fitness or Fitness Club.
“The purpose of early morning fitness is so that students get some fitness in their life,” said Melissa Pearman, HES Family Resource Center coordinator.” “It also helps them to release some energy so they can better focus when they get to class.”
Before Fitness Club was started a few years ago, all students who arrived early sat in the hall until it was time to go to class, Pearman recalled. Now students, for one day each week, go to the gym. On Mondays first grade students are there from 7:15 – 7:30 a.m. and kindergarten, from 7:30 to 7:45 a.m. Students in the second grade go on Tuesday, third on Wednesday, fourth on Thursdays, and fifth on Fridays.
While in the gym, students can either walk or run. For safety’s sake, though, the walkers must follow a striped line that is inside of another line which runners use.
Pearman said the idea for the Fitness Club came about from student surveys in which they selected the top six clubs they would like to see the school offer.
“They had about 15 clubs to choose from and fitness was always one that they chose,” she stated.
When the club first started, morning fitness was from 7:15 to 7:40 a.m. Once all students were given the opportunity for free breakfast, the club started ending at 7:30 so that students could get to their classroom and eat breakfast before class began at 7:45.
Two HES staff members supervise the 77 to 105 students each morning. Pearman also helps out one day each week.
“The kids look forward to their fitness day,” she said, and their smiles and laughter on the gym floor confirm her statement.
In addition to morning fitness, HES Principal Chris Price said students also have the opportunity of 20 minutes of daily exercise during recess time on the school playground.