ROCKWALL, TX – August 28, 2020 — The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many parents to choose remote learning for their kids in order to keep them safe. But while remote learning is less risky, it also means that kids might miss out on the benefits of physical activities they would normally get while at school through P.E. and even recess. Starting in September, the J.E.R. Chilton YMCA at Rockwall is filling that gap with new fitness classes for homeschool and at-home learners of all age groups.
“As a YMCA, we really saw the need to help provide a space for physical exercise for at-home learners,” said Diana Fulton, Rockwall YMCA Health and Wellness Director. “So we created a four-tiered fitness program for most age groups, offering some fun physical activity every single day of the week.”
With the Y’s new Homeschool P.E. program, homeschool and at-home learners grades K-2 can enjoy 50 minutes of good fun and play. Kids will engage in entertaining games and activities such as pretending to be an animal for a day, with dancing and songs to keep playtime going strong. The class will include Bike Day, where kids will welcome the Rockwall Police Department to teach them about bike safety and hop on their bikes for a ride around the parking lot.
To ensure safe social distancing, the class will be limited to 10 kids. Markers will also be placed on the floors and kids will get their own basket to put their equipment in, so that equipment won’t be shared in order to minimize the spread of germs.
In the Y’s Sports Ready program for homeschool and at-home learners grades 3-6, kids will learn how to move their bodies safely; they will learn dynamic movements and stretching and how to use foam rollers to warm up and prep their bodies ready for exercise. They will also learn mobility drills to get their muscle and joints ready for movement. The program will also focus on hand eye coordination along with drills for speed and agility.
“It’s an age group where we have the opportunity to build a great foundation and teach them how to move their bodies properly and how to feel confident and strong,” said Fulton, who will lead the Homeschool P.E.
For kids ages 13-16, there’s the new Strength and Conditioning program led by C.J. Cottey which takes them through basic weightlifting all the way up to Olympic lifting drills. It’s an excellent class for those kids who are in a sport that may not be happening due to COVID-19, or for those who just want to stay conditioned and strong. It’s also a great program for kids interested in weightlifting but who aren’t familiar with the right techniques to get the most out of their weight training.
The Homeschool P.E. and Sports Ready programs will run every Monday-Wednesday-Friday from Sept. 9 through Oct. 30.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays from Sept. 8 through Oct. 29, kids ages 10-16 can partake in a weightlifting program called Foundations from 1 to 2 p.m. in the Rockwall YMCA gym. In this program led by Mrs. Ryan Strawn, kids will use body pump equipment to learn how to do squats, lunges, lifting, and freeweights effectively, as well as jumping techniques to be able to perform jump training exercises safely.
“It’s important for this age group to have that confidence to able to go back out on the gym floor to lift weights – with or without their parents – with confidence and knowledge of proper biomechanics. This will allow them to be successful and safe in the weight room and athletics for years to come,” Fulton said.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), less than one quarter (24 percent) of children 6 to 17 years of age participate in 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Students who are physically active tend to have better grades, school attendance, and are more likely to stay on task in the classroom. Higher physical activity is also known to improve cognitive performance (like concentration and memory) among students.
“It’s so vital for kids to be moving,” Fulton said. “Kids need movement to reduce stress and to sleep well. When we move and exercise, our bodies release endorphins that help us feel better. If these kids have been sitting from 8 to noon and they’re done with school, they’re ready to move. We wanted to provide a space for those kids to have structured exercise that stimulates their minds and bodies, while also giving them that human connection so that they can feel like they’re a part of something.”
Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 1-1:50pm
Sept 9 thru Oct. 30
Instructor: Diana Fulton
Ages 5-8 (Max 10 participants)
Homeschool PE Sports Ready
Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 2-2:50 p.m.
Sept. 9 thru Oct. 30
Instructor: Diana Fulton
Ages 9-12 (Max 10 participants)
Strength and Conditioning
Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 3-4 p.m.
Sept 9 thru Oct. 30
Instructor: C.J. Cottey
Ages 13-16 (Max 6 participants)
Homeschool P.E. Foundations
Tuesday, Thursday from 1-2 p.m.
Sept 8 thru Oct. 29
Instructor: Mrs. Ryan Strawn
Ages 10-16 (Max 15 participants)
By Austin Wells, Blue Ribbon News.
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