Over the last five years, Kaiser Permanente Northwest, Nike and Northwest Health Foundation gave over $1 million total to 139 Oregon elementary schools to support physical education programs and inspire a lifelong love of physical activity. Now Oregon Active Schools is winding down, and we’re sharing highlights and learnings.
Read on to find out how two elementary schools used Oregon Active Schools grants to engage students and families in physical activity in new ways.
Staff at Whitcomb Elementary School in North Clackamas School District recognized an opportunity to not only get kids moving, but also help students self-regulate and problem-solve through physical activity.
"We continue to work with our partners and community to make our recess area more engaging and add places that students can use to regulate themselves through physical activity. This was done through our sensory walk stations.
We used the money granted to us to repaint basketball lines, our problem-solving wheel, and add two sensory walks. This was also done in cooperation with our community and Playworks coach while cleaning up our playground. Students are now able to take sensory walks when they need, and the highlighting of the problem-solving wheels has increased its use which has decreased the number of problems at recess."
Aiken Elementary in Ontario School District used their Oregon Active Schools funds to organize, promote and expand a walking club. At first, they used it just to get students walking. Then they started using it to engage families in physical activity, too.
Aiken encouraged students to walk more by tracking how far they’d walked and challenging them to beat their own record. They also held class competitions. Originally, staff tallied each lap a student walked by hand. Now they use iPads and student ID cards. The total number of miles walked has increased every year since the walking club started.
Aiken also offered opportunities at family events for students to walk with their families during the event, providing special incentives exclusive to the students who participated in these events. In this way, they’ve increased awareness of healthy living throughout the whole community.
“We were able to use walking as a draw to get parents/families involved in other activities, and we were able to get parents/families walking when they were drawn by another activity.
Our current population is over 50% Hispanic. As a general rule, it was not the Hispanic population you would see out walking. Students, through their walking activity, have influenced parents to get out and move for health and entertainment.”
Look out for our final Oregon Active Schools blog next month, which will include the results of our OAS evaluation.