There’s no better way to teach kids about healthy lifestyles than by setting a good example.
Parents, teachers and caregivers who involve children in exercise are sending a message that being active is of the utmost importance. However, adult workout routines don’t always hold appeal in the eyes of little ones.
And that’s where the JAM school program comes into play. JAM, which stands for “just a minute,” is a national physical-activity movement that features kids as instructors. It is designed to raise awareness about the importance of daily activity and other healthy habits children can develop early in life.
According to www.JamSchoolProgram.com, JAM works because it allows participants to do the same thing at the same time. There is no judgment or competition, and it creates a sense of community and belonging. The JAM routines focus on strength, conditioning and coordination. And the benefits are more than just purely physical. Adding more activity minutes to a child’s day gives the brain a break and improves student performance, according to www.JamSchoolProgram.com.
Liberty Elementary has participated in JAMmin’ minutes for the past three years, according to Principal Chris Anderson. It is a 1-minute fitness routine that includes five simple exercises that can be done anywhere.
“These kids can stand at their desk and do these exercises,” Anderson said. “They will do them in the hallway, or even the cafeteria if they are still at breakfast.”
Anderson explained that the school day starts the same every morning — with words of wisdom, morning announcements and then a JAMmin’ minute broadcast.
“The workout is projected all over the school through smart boards,” he said. “We do it once in the morning universally, and the teachers can access it throughout the day from our web page and can JAM again.”
Each week, a different featured class leads the school in a workout. The students use flip cams and typically record the sessions two weeks ahead of time.
“It’s basically out of my hands,” Anderson said. “I do spot visits, and the kids really enjoy it and the staff even participates.”
The Jam School Program has taken this child-led movement one step further. At 10 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 27, parents and community members are invited to participate and join the Liberty Elementary student for “just a minute” as they lead everyone in a physical-activity routine.
Georgia currently ranks 13th in the Jam World Record 2012 state ranking. Community members can help raise the state’s ranking by logging on to www.JamSchoolProgram.com and signing up.