The first year of a new grant program designed to encourage more physical activity in Southwest Colorado schools has been a success, the program’s organizer said.
Take 10 is an initiative of the San Juan Board of Cooperative Education Services supported by a Colorado Health Foundation grant of just over $1 million, grant coordinator Cindy Erickson said.
“The main goal for the grant is to increase the amount of physical activity throughout the school day in K-12 students,” she said.
Take 10 stands for Time for Aerobic and Kinetic Exercises for 10 minutes, Erickson said. The program wrapped up this year, and will continue next school year, she said.
The program has three different components, Erickson said. The first is a morning running club that meets before school up to four times a week. The goal is for students to run 100 miles over the course of the school year, Erickson said.
Second is movement breaks within the classroom that allow students to give their brains some resting time, she said. The third component is “unstructured play” during recess. The grant provided funding for recess equipment, such as small toys designed to help kids move more during recess, Erickson said.
“This has helped kids be able to focus,” she said.
All eight Southwest Colorado school districts that are part of San Juan BOCES have participated in Take 10, including Cortez, Mancos and Dolores, Erickson said.
The grant also paid for training for teachers on how to do movement breaks in their classroom, Erickson said.
In the second year, Erickson said all schools at all the BOCES districts will be participating. For the first year, the program was mostly for kindergartners through eighth-graders, she said.
Take 10 also includes adaptive programming for special-needs students, Erickson said. Special needs students sometimes aren’t as active as their peers because they are not given opportunities to be active, she said.
Though the grant only lasts two years, Erickson said she has encouraged schools to prioritize policies that encourage physical activity for students.
“Schools are adopting a culture of movement,” Erickson said. “It’s OK to get up and move.”