Kids are learning during recess as schools utilize coaches to engage them in learning while they are enjoying recreation.
He’s not your typical coach, but Anthony Urrutia is actively helping students achieve their best game plan. One recent school day, he tossed a football back and forth with a ten year old, while quizzing him on his spelling words.
While an 8 year old was speeding across the gym on a scooter, Urrutia was coaching him with math facts. He also gave math problems to students doing jumping jacks, and spelling words as they hopped on one foot.
Meet the new recess coach at Laurene Edmondson Elementary School. The program is paid for by a $100,000 wellness grant from Kaiser Permanente. The objective is to work with kids at recess on keeping them active. Activity helps children socialize. They also learn and retain spelling and math lessons while moving. Coaches also work with small groups of students to reinforce skills if they need extra help.
Urrutia uses methods from Academics in Action. This program was created by Fort Collins teacher Chris Hunt. “While children are learning while moving, they retain 90 percent of what they learn,” he said. “It’s getting them to move and be active.”
Urrutia splits his time between several schools in the district, along with a second coach. There are also plans underway to develop a before school intramurals game program, to jump start students brains with activity.
Physical activity has been connected with academic performance in a 2010 study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control. Improvements have been shown in cognitive skills, grades, test scores and attendance and a reduction in disciplinary issues. The results of the study also show that moderate to high gains in student ability in math, reading and writing were made when physical education time was increased.