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Winter Funland at Park Brook

By
Scott Taylor,   Park Brook Elementary School
Play:
Community Playtime – It’s Good for Everyone
Topics:
Community Involvement, Physical Activity Participation, Student Leadership,  Success with Funds
Winter Funland at Park Brook
Park Brook Elementary in Brooklyn Park, MN hosts a Winter Funland every year, which is actually a health fair. Students who serve on the Wellness Committee meet before school to make popcorn from the commercial hot-air popcorn popper and healthy smoothies using the smoothie maker, both of which were purchased using funds from FUTP 60.  We serve the food on the FUTP 60 kiosk, and serve the smoothies out of the FUTP 60 refrigerator. Instead of a carnival with games, all of the activities are movement based. Students and parents stop at booths set up by nursing students from Rasmussen College, Pearle Vision in Maple Grove, MN, and Dr. Bryan Sween, dentist. The event is two-hours of a lot of activity including a bounce house, ping-pong, limbo, and lots of other events. This year, thanks to a grant from the District 279 Foundation, we also had sled dog rides, which were a hit. Parents are welcome to stay, but not required to do so. At the end, students leave after having a couple of hours of movement, and instead of trinkets from a carnival, just great memories from a fun-filled healthy event. 

How did students and adults work together as a team?

Students and staff work together on the Wellness Committee. For the staff, originally it was odd to have students on the committee. But now, we have 3rd, 4th and 5th graders working together with staff to create a healthier school with our Focus on Fitness initiative. Staff and students work together to make the smoothies, popcorn, and then, at our next meeting, to evaluate the event.

What improvements have you seen at your school?

While our improvements have not been from this one event, but rather from our overall Focus on Fitness initiative, we have seen an increase in academic growth and positive behaviors. The entire culture of the school has been changed by focusing on wellness, specifically physical wellness. Students in grades 3, 4 and 5 all develop personal fitness goals, just as they do for reading and math. During parent meetings, we discuss the benefits of increasing fitness to increase academic growth.

How did you accomplish your goals?

Our Winter Funland supports and emphasis the desire of the school community to be healthier, and we are thankful for the assistance of FUTP 60 over the years.