On Fri. Feb. 4 Antietam Elementary School held a health initiative called Jump Rope for Heart, a program sponsored by the American Heart Association to get school children to set up websites and collect donations for their charity.
Antietam Physical Education Teacher Andree Sitnik expanded the program to make it a heart-healthy event for Antietam students.
All day long kindergarten through fifth graders gave up their elective period, and circulated through different heart centers. Most centers were places were the students could participate in cardio exercise, but they also made valentine-like hearts in an art room, where they also learned about heart health through a Power Point presentation.
Students rotated through sessions from art to music, where they danced to the popular active video game Dance-Dance Revolution. Then students headed into the gymnasium, where they could rotate through four different activities.
One such activity was called fitness. Here students ran in a U.S. Army inspired obstacle course that included a row of tires, a wall of gym mats and a crawl-only section.
As expected there was plenty of jump rope activities, including a jump contest, where students competed to see who could jump individually the longest without stopping or tripping. There was an area where students could work on their jump rope tricks, such as jumping double-dutch and jumping in and out of a long rope.
Third grader Olivia Hill said her favorite activity was fitness.
“I like the tires,” said Hill, who also enjoys soccer and basketball.
Seth Harrington likes, “Basketball,” which he said, “Is more fun than jumping rope.”
But Chloe Dean-Ochs, a third grader who participates in Tae Kwon Do and swim team, seemed to explain the impetus behind the program. Dean-Ochs said, “I like that sports are fun, and it’s good to exercise in a fun way.”
Principal Linda Moniuszko said that while Antietam has tried Jump for Hearts in the past, this is the first year they’ve done it with different centers. She also notes, “We have a health and wellness committee that plans days like this.”
Moniuszko also said that while Antietam works to promote healthy activities throughout the year, she realizes her students are, “an active bunch.”
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