At Webster Elementary, we started up open gym Fridays. We have set aside an extra hour and a half time, dedicated to extra fitness and activity fun. We allow for students to enjoy playing basketball games, volleyball, gymnastics, jump rope, potato sack races and other activities that can reach to everyone’s interest. This allows for students to exceed the activity time allotted for school and help get students more excited about lifelong fitness.
What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?
A main challenge we faced was finding activities that would allow for involvement from all students and not focusing only on sports. To overcome this, we listened to students and found that there was a high interest in gymnastics, tumbling, and jump rope, so we added these activities in order to support students' needs. We then started to add other fun ideas such as potato sack races.
What improvements have you seen at your school?
We have seen a difference in students' behavior since starting the open gym day. Students don’t want to be disallowed to participate in the open gym, so they make sure to be on their best behavior and get their school work done. I believe that, long term, we will see students have more desire for lifelong fitness and being involved in physical activity.
How do you plan to make this Play last during the school year and beyond?
We want to push forward with this program as the weather becomes warmer to go outside and incorporate more activities such as kickball and large tag games. We are also excited to have our first Field Day later this year, which will be an extension of this program.