With the start of the new school year, we are elated to report that our partner schools have made huge strides towards providing and promoting healthy lifestyles to their students. With inspiration from First Lady, Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign, guidance from the CPS Office of Health & Wellness, and ground support from community organizations like Chicago Run, we have been able to see a real cultural shift within our schools.
For example, just within the past few years of partnering with Tonti Elementary, their administration has made significant changes within their school health environment. Originally, Chicago Run programs were used as a supplemental classroom tool that added 10 minutes of physical activity to the school day. Now, for the first time, Tonti Elementary is successfully providing every one of their students the CDC recommended 60 minutes of daily physical activity, which is comprised of a 30 minutes of Physical Education, 20 minutes of recess, and a 10 minute classroom health break. No longer just an add-on, Chicago Run has become an integral part of the school day. All of the teachers are now equipped with the tools to efficiently turn their classroom into a healthy space where physical activity can seamlessly be integrated between math and writing.
It is inspiring to be a part of these healthy changes in schools like Tonti Elementary. More than ever, we are feeling optimistic about the future of our schools and their ability to effectively provide and promote healthy lifestyles to their students. As adults, too often we hear about the challenges of establishing an exercise routine or following a balanced diet. For many, maintaining one’s health can be a lifelong challenge. However, with this cultural shift at our schools, we are hopeful that more children will continue to be exposed to the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle and enable them to grow into healthier adults in the future.
Reflection by David Koller, Creative Projects Manager at Chicago Run