By Tina Dirmann
staff writer for BCBSLA Foundation
In the face of an uncertain economy and ever-increasing budget cuts, physical education has ended up on the chopping block at schools across the country.
But that’s hardly the story for East Baton Rouge schools, where more than 80 teachers gathered last weekend to learn new ways to keep their students moving. The It’s Your Life! wellness training program was sponsored by Fresh Beginnings, a Challenge for a Healthier Louisiana grant project established by Mayor Melvin L. “Kip” Holden to focus on improved community health and reducing childhood obesity.
It’s Your Life! training day provided teachers with new skills that will help fulfill a 150 minute physical activity per week requirement now in place for schools district-wide, integrating messages of fitness, nutrition, self-esteem and anti-bullying.
“The teachers got so much out of the training,” said Fresh Beginnings Grant Coordinator Lyndsi Lambert. “So many new materials and ideas… And so many appreciated the opportunity to get up and move around. One p.e. teacher said, ‘You know us, we don’t like to sit around!’ “
Teachers particularly enjoyed learning from fellow p.e. teacher Bonnie Richardson, who helped develop the It’s Your Life! program.
“It was great to see the teachers engage in Bonnie’s physical activities,” Lambert said. ”She cranked up that music and the teachers just let loose — all smiles, laughing, dancing, running around, and, during some activities, really competing with each other!”
Noted one teacher at the end of the day, “Trainings aren’t usually that fun!”