Running Brings Kids Together at Mt. View Elementary
Mt. View Elementary, located in Antioch, TN, enrolls an extremely diverse student body of over 700 Pre-K to 4th grade students yearly. Within their school, more than 50 languages are spoken and represented and is an important part of what makes the school so special. Although students at Mt. View Elementary may come from many different backgrounds and cultures, one thing they all share is a love for running and physical activity.
Lee Ann Farrar, physical education teacher at Mt. View Elementary, is one of the key influencers behind the school’s passion for running.
A runner since college, Mrs. Farrar has always appreciated the benefits of running: “I have seen in my own life how it has kept me fit both physically and mentally over the years; and at the age of 63, I am still running and exercising and have few health issues”.
Physical fitness and sports have been a lifelong love for Lee who participated in many sports during her high school and college years including running cross country and participating in intramurals.
Physical activity is also a shared passion among her family with her own daughter finding support and relief from depression and anxiety through running and boxing.
Although Mrs. Farrar and Mt. View Elementary were making an impact on their students’ physical education through their own running program, they knew it could be improved. “It had been time consuming… marking laps for the kids then trying to record the laps. And we really did not have the technology to gain any data with the program”.
It was after realizing there could be refinements in their running program that Mrs. Farrar and Mt. View Elementary became interested in and ultimately implemented the Marathon Kids program for their P.E. classes.
When asked why Mt. View Elementary uses Marathon Kids, Mrs. Farrar said, “It is an efficient and free digital platform that provides at your fingertip data and easy recordkeeping; plus it motivates the kids to exercise and improve their fitness levels. (I like) the ability to adjust from mileage to activity minutes and the ability to quickly run reports about individual kids, grade levels, or classes”.
Mrs. Farrar’s students run for a minimum of 10 minutes and typically 0.5 -1 mile during the time they are outside depending on their grade level. By using the Marathon Kids program in their P.E. classes, Mrs. Farrar says she is able to get more kids active.
“We begin every class with what we call our fitness four that consists of exercises that improve flexibility, strength, balance, and finally cardio with our running program. We still have time to teach our other skills, but to me fitness is the most important accomplishment that we desire for our students in order for them to become healthy adults.”
To keep their students motivated, announcements are regularly made across school intercoms celebrating their students’ running accomplishments. Additionally, Mt. View Elementary is creating newsletters to inform parents more about the running program and their childrens’ successes.
There were many challenges that students of Mt. View Elementary faced when returning to school due to the lasting effects of a sedentary lifestyle during the pandemic. Mrs. Farrar and the rest of the school staff are currently instilling in them the desire to run and workout when they do not come to P.E. or while they are at home. “We are hoping Marathon Kids will inspire them to continue their running as they go on to Middle and High School and to get their families involved.”
“I know the students love to share their accomplishments with their teachers. We have so many students here but I know that teachers have told me that coming to our class and running is what makes them want to come to school. This applies especially to ones who struggle either academically or socially.”
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