Many research studies demonstrate that students who are more physically active have better cognitive skills and higher academic achievement. Since 2007, Lake Joy Elementary in Houston County has implemented various initiatives to help students stay active and healthy, and perform better academically.
The most popular program at Lake Joy, PE Club, meets the first Monday of each month at 7:30 in the morning before the school day starts. PE Club was initially limited to 50 students, but with so much student interest, the teachers decided to increase the maximum enrollment.
Typically, almost 100 students arrive ready to play some of their favorite games, such as Gotcha, Nuke ‘Em and Handball. The games played within the PE club incorporate problem-solving skills and are highly engaging.
"PE Club is a great way for our students to exercise their minds as well as their bodies!” said Ms. Crow, fifth-grade teacher at Lake Joy Elementary. “Our students in the PE morning club get a fresh and active start to their day, which translates to higher levels of concentration in the classroom."
Students look forward to mornings when PE Club is held and love the extra time to play their favorite games.
"It's awesome, and it gets you pumped for the day," said Travis, a third-grade student.
Thomas, a fifth-grade student, said: “PE Club gets your mind focused for the day, so you're ready to learn.”
Another successful initiative at Lake Joy that incorporates both academics and physical activity is the Accelerated Reader program. The Accelerated Reader program allows students to earn points based on reading comprehension. After earning a set amount of Accelerated Reader points, students are eligible for various prizes, including the opportunity to go outside and play a game with an assistant principal. This is a popular award that is given to about 60 students per month. Students thoroughly enjoy the program, and the school has one of the top-ranked Accelerated Reader programs in the nation.
April Barton, Lake Joy’s PE teacher, incorporates critical-thinking and problem-solving into PE lessons with games such as Mission Impossible, Tower of Terror and Texo, or Zoob builders. These lessons allow students to not only be active physically, but mentally.
“It is my goal for each students to find something they enjoy doing,” said Barton.” Hopefully a seed will be planted to remain active and healthy throughout their lives.”
Other ways students can engage in physical activity at Lake Joy include the Dance Team, Kickball Club and the Jump Rope Team. They practice every other week throughout the school year. Even the afterschool program, which runs until 6:00 p.m., allows students to spend time playing wall ball, disc golf, four-square, basketball, jump rope and STEM-focused physical activities.
To learn more about Lake Joy Elementary, check out their website.