“[KidFit] is a great way to introduce scholars to fitness, healthy choices, and character skills they can easily transfer to academics. It builds and supports the kind of classroom community where students are engaged, invested, and challenged.”
Notes from the Field: An Interview with a KidFit Academy Teacher
We are extremely excited to introduce an amazing kindergarten teacher using KidFit in her classroom. She has been using the program for about 2 months and already sees a HUGE difference in her classroom. Read on to learn more!
Amie L., kindergarten and KidFit Academy teacher at Aspire Berkley Maynard Academy in Oakland, CA
KF: Tell us about yourself.
AL: After completing my B.S. and Multiple Subject Teaching Credential at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, I joined Teach For America and taught second grade for three years in Phoenix, Arizona; then moved to Sacramento to be part of the founding staff at Capitol Collegiate Academy. I currently teach Kindergarten at Aspire Berkley Maynard Academy in Oakland, where I co-chair the Multicultural Committee and founded a chapter of Girls On The Run. I have experience in creating and implementing curriculum, providing support and professional development for new teachers, and leading school-wide committees. In my personal time, I enjoy going to A’s games, hiking, traveling, and cooking; I also organize and manage online challenge/support groups for fitness and clean eating.
KF: What inspired you to use KidFit Academy in your classroom?
AL: As an active, kinesthetic learner myself, I am always searching out ways to engage my students’ entire bodies in the learning process. After doing a lot of research on my own about brain breaks, I was looking for a structured program that would teach fitness skills. After hearing about KidFit, I was excited to implement a program that also taught character-building skills like focus, confidence, determination, goal-setting and grit.
KF: Describe a typical day using KidFit in your classroom.
AL: I implement KidFit in addition to our regularly scheduled recess. At 9:30am, right before recess, I take my scholars outside to do the Morning Circuit. After lunch, at noon, we complete the Mid-Day Yoga Circuit, which gets them calm and focused for reading and writing. During the afternoon, usually right before an integrals class such as Music, Art, or PE, the scholars complete a Mid-Afternoon Circuit.
KF: What has changed in your classroom as a result of using KidFit?
AL: Within days of implementing KidFit, I saw a difference in behavior in my classroom. The Morning Circuit helps to get out a lot of energy and when the students come back inside, as they transition to Centers, I have seen them become a lot quieter and more focused during that time. The Mid-Afternoon Circuit has provided a similar outlet, and they really like getting a chance to move. The Mid-Day Yoga Circuit has been the most transformative part of KidFit for my classroom. The scholars show incredible calm and focus after completing the Yoga Circuit and I have observed their ability to sustain quiet writing and reading time increase dramatically. The character building skills have been an important addition to our day, as well. I weave the language into Morning Message and my directions throughout the day. Students are starting to use the common language to encourage each other. Behavior has also improved, particularly for scholars who could have been labeled “hyper-active” and/or “disruptive” prior to this program.
KF: What was the students’ reaction to the program?
AL: They love it! Especially the yoga. When we learned about writing expository How-To pieces, most scholars wrote at least one piece about how to do various yoga poses. They have taken ownership of the shout-outs at the end of the routines and are starting to help each other with form during all of the circuits. Students from other classes ask to join in!
KF: What kind of response have you gotten from the parents? From other teachers at your school?
AL: Parents have been supportive and a few have come to observe. Other teachers at the school have told me they see/hear us and that it looks like a great program!
KF: What advice would you have for other teachers considering using the program?
AL: Give it a try! It is a great way to introduce scholars to fitness, healthy choices, and character skills they can easily transfer to academics. It builds and supports the kind of classroom community where students are engaged, invested, and challenged.
KF: What is the biggest impact that you have seen as a result of using KidFit?
AL: I can’t pick just one! Scholars are increasingly able to focus quietly for longer periods of time, they are using positive self-talk to encourage themselves and others, and we are having lots of fun. Health, fitness, and character development are all areas I am passionate about, and I am excited that KidFit allows me to share all of these things with my scholars in 3 10-minute chunks per day!
Thanks Amie for all of your fabulous work! You are truly amazing.