Wiggle Out Loud school initiative challenges students to be active
Students at Edwards Elementary School were the first to participate in the Wiggle Out Loud Schools Program, a new physical activity challenge led by The Children's Hospital Volunteers charity and funded by a grant from Kohl's Cares.
"I'm glad we got to be the first," Principal Richelle Dodoo-Taylor said after an end-of challenge celebration where all students got a T-shirt and certificate.
The students were challenged to track 15-minute blocks of activity at school and at home for a month with a goal of trying to reach 60 minutes per day. When the minutes are tallied, the winning classroom will receive an assortment of new playground balls, and the teacher will receive a $50 gift card.
The program gave the school a year's subscription to GoNoodle so every teacher could use the dance and movement offerings to re-engage students with fun, controlled activity when their attention started to wander, Dodoo-Taylor said. They range from one- to six-minute activities that get kids out of the chairs and moving.
"It did increase engagement with students in the class," Dodoo-Taylor said.
The monthlong challenge ended with a celebration March 1 at Edwards, 1123 NE Grand Blvd., that featured live music from hip-hop artist Jabee, as well as activities and educational themes of physical activity, nutrition and mindfulness.
"It was a whole body, mind and soul event," Dodoo-Taylor said.
Experts from The Children's Hospital at OU Medical Center developed materials for the program and provided information to the kids at stations during the celebration event, said Sara Jacobson, executive director of The Children’s Hospital Volunteers.
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"It's all to encourage and challenge them to get out and be active," Jacobson said. "Thanks to the Kohl's Care grant, we are able to offer a health and wellness experience to schools."
The second school selected to participate is Cesar Chavez Elementary, 600 SE Grand Blvd. The program there will be longer, beginning after spring break and wrapping up in May.
The Wiggle Out Loud Schools Program is designed to be flexible so schools can tailor it to their individual needs, Jacobson said.
The program will be tweaked based on feedback from the first two schools, and it will be offered to more schools next fall.
"Our hope is to be able to have an ever-present Wiggle Out Loud program throughout the year," Jacobson said.
The school initiative is an extension of the free family music festival Wiggle Out Loud, started by a group of health-minded families and Chris “Boom!” Wiser, of the Sugar Free Allstars. The Children's Hospital at OU Medical Center became the presenting sponsor in 2015.
The seventh annual festival will be Oct. 20 on the Myriad Botanical Gardens Great Lawn.