Physical Activity

Safe, Fun, Active Play: Every Kid, Every Day!

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Active Recess means more play and more fun for 5,600 students at 11 Minneapolis schools. Teachers at participating elementary schools are seeing the difference that active play can have on in-classroom behavior and conflict resolution skills.

The goal of the Active Recess approach is to increase physical activity, improve students’ health, to support academic success, and to improve the playground climate by engaging all students in physical activity with various game and activity options.

When Active Recess started in School year 2010-11, it was built on collaboration: University of Minnesota DAPE (Developmental and Adapted Physical Education), Beacons and Aces (after-school programs), AmeriCorps staff, Target volunteers, Washburn High School student volunteers and Fuel-Up to Play 60 all worked together to bring structured fun to playgrounds.

But that was just a start. While SHIP got things going, in 2012, Minneapolis turned to CDC Community Transformation Grant funds to work toward expanding the program to reach all 17,000 elementary school kids in the district.

The beneficial results of the increased play could be seen across the grid. Over 75 percent of teaching staff at participating schools reported that physical activity levels had increased, and more than 90 percent felt that students enjoyed the new recess activities.

When the program started, Ryan Gibbs, at the time an assistant principal, said, “Our teachers love that students now have structured play time so they can burn off energy during recess. When students return to their classes, teachers have noticed they’re calmer and more focused on learning.”

“Minneapolis has done some great work in the arena of active recess,” says Terri Swartout, Education Specialist at MDE. “Not only have they provided a great resource for all to use, and following up with professional development to their staff, but they also have been a great mentor to other communities working on this initiative as well.”

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Updated Wednesday, October 08, 2014 at 11:37AM