BERLIN — Students who have shown responsible behavior and positive attitudes at Buckingham Elementary School (BES) got a chance to spend a few hours learning about, and trying out, several different kinds of fitness programs last Thursday during a special “Get Fit” event.
Hundreds of students filled the school’s gymnasium and were able to rotate around several fitness stations scattered throughout the area. The activities offered ranged from obstacle courses to zumba to more traditional stretching and flexibility exercises. All stations shared a common theme of getting students moving, said pre-kindergarten teacher Sheryl Mitrecic, who originally suggested the “Get Fit” concept to the school.
For two hours, students ran, jumped, crawled, crab-walked, danced or shuffled around the stations. Besides having fun, Mitrecic explained that the kids were learning new exercises and hopefully beginning to cultivate better fitness habits. There was also an educational factor since station instructors were all certified trainers, health experts or yoga teachers. Mitrecic used zumba instructor Chrissy Knight as an example.
“She’s giving them a little of the science behind it,” she said.
All of the instructors were experienced and accommodating when asked to help the school despite an initial snow cancellation the week before, according to Mitrecic.
“I called all of them and they volunteered their time,” she said.
The “Get Fit” day was one of four “incentive” activities made available at BES throughout the year. Mitrecic explained that the school has a PBIS, or “Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports,” philosophy that tries to subvert negative behavior by constantly rewarding positive actions instead of relying entirely on punishing students who break the rules. To attend Get Fit, students had to have earned, and been willing to part with, “$50” worth of the school’s fake reward currency.
“This is something they choose to participate in by spending Bucky Bucks,” said Mitrecic.
While other incentives have been options like movies or pizza parties, Mitrecic said that it seemed like students might want to try a healthier, more active event, a theory the large turnout and student enthusiasm appears to support.
Whether or not Get Fit day pops up again as an incentive in the near future, Mitrecic said that she hopes that BES continues to support teaching and encouraging students to go out and stay active.