When the Governor’s Council on Fitness & Sports issued its 2010 fitness challenge, Wendi Wallace, healthcare technician for William H. Frazier Elementary School, saw it as an opportunity to develop an interesting and educational program for the school’s 550-plus kindergarten through third grade students.
“I began to develop a plan around what I knew the students loved to do,” said Wallace, explaining her ‘12 Days of Fitness’ program designed to meet the governor’s challenge that students participate in a 30-minute exercise program, three days per week, for four weeks, which amounts to twelve sessions (days). So that all grade levels could participate, it meant that on each of the 12 days, the program would have to be done in four identical sessions so as to cover all ages.
With the approval of Frazier principal Leonard Rodriguez, Wallace introduced the students to the topic of physical fitness by reading them story books on the topic that were appropriate for their age level.
“I read the younger ones a book called ‘Brown Bear Gets in Shape,’ and the older ones a story about a family that needed help in leading a healthier lifestyle,” explained Wallace.
The students began their first of the 12 days of fitness on Tuesday, May 4 with opening day festivities that included the various classes parading onto the field with posters inscribed with fitness pledges.
The first day included a fitness theme revolving around the “12 Days of Christmas” song – substituting things like one stork stand (hold for a count of 10) for the partridge in a pear tree and moving on to two scissor crosses, three muscle poses, four jumping ropes, five hula hoops, six kicks to the front, and so on to twelve jumping jacks. The 12-day program was planned for Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays through May 28 and features a different theme and slate of activities each day.
On May 6, it was Military Day and Wallace said she was “surprised” when 35 members of the military from Camp Pendleton volunteered their help.
“I thought only a small handful would be coming over [to the school], but we had 35 volunteers,” she said, grinning. Wallace explained that four exercise stations were set up for that day.
“The Marines were having the students drop and do push ups, crawl through an obstacle course, all while working-in plenty of fun for them,” said Wallace, describing how at the end of one of the courses, the Marines provided water balloons and targets for the students.
“They were so well organized. It was great,” said Wallace.
The May 7 theme was We’ve Got the Beat Day where Erica Williams from SIFT Personal Training volunteered her time
to teach the students how to take their pulse and monitor it while exercising.
“They learned how exercise affects your pulse and the benefit of that,” said Wallace.
Pilates and the popular Wii system were introduced to the students on May 11. “Pilates instructor Lacy Seber offered her time to explain to the students how to breathe properly and what your ‘core’ consists of,” explained Wallace. “We also showed the students how the Wii game system can be used for fitness. They all loved it.”
The students were ready to participate in Walk a Mile on May 13, as Wallace led them on a one-mile hike throughout and around the campus. She had placed encouraging signs around the course advising students “not to give up” and prompts to have them check their pulse rates.
“We also interacted with the Sheriff’s Senior Volunteer Patrol who assisted us by monitoring traffic on Gum Tree Lane for the students’ safety,” said Wallace. “The students recited a poem to the volunteers as they passed through the area.”
On Martial Arts Day, four experts, Paul Calabro, Steven Waterbury, Chris Brant, and Julian Pierce volunteered to demonstrate their skills to Frazier students.
Other day-long themes planned for the 12 Days of Fitness include Zumbatomic, San Diego Socker’s Day (with players), Sports Challenge Day, Circuit Training Day, and Performance Dance Day.
“My goal is for the students to learn about fitness and how you don’t necessarily have to have a lot of expensive equipment to stay fit,” said Wallace.
Wallace said the Frazier students who complete the 12 Days of Fitness program will receive certificates of accomplishment for meeting the Governor’s challenge.