Mount Zion Primary School in Clayton County is one of 881 schools that have taken the Power Up for 30 pledge to provide 30 minutes of physical activity outside of PE during the school day. The school health and fitness team at Mount Zion Primary School consistently encourages teachers to give students a five- to 10-minute exercise break next to their desks every hour, more recess time outside if weather permits, teaching lessons outside in the school garden, or taking walks outside with their class more often.
“Be cool with a capital C,” is the students’ refrain as they walk through the hallways at Mount Zion Primary School.
The phrase was popularized by Healthy Hipster, the school’s television character who makes healthy habits fun and exciting for students. Healthy Hipster was created by Coach Jeff Roberts, PE teacher, to provide opportunities for students to be active during the school day. Dressed as a “hippie,” Coach Roberts shares three- to six-minute exercise videos during the school’s morning news encouraging students to exercise, eat right, behave and study hard.
“I started this character as a way to catch the kids’ attention, and influence them to exercise more,” said Coach Roberts. “Dressing up as a hippie really attracts the attention of children this age because they like characters such as this.”
Healthy Hipster has been a positive influence on students at Mount Zion. Students flock to the television screen to follow along with his exercises. They have also adopted healthier eating behaviors with his encouragement.
“I try to eat an apple every day when I get home from school,” said Faith, a second-grader.
Students are excited to see Healthy Hipster around school, and many like to ask Coach Roberts whether he really is Healthy Hipster.
“You are Healthy Hipster, aren’t you?” asked Anthony, a kindergartener, of Coach Roberts. “I like the Hipster guy.”
Teachers at Mount Zion are supportive of Coach Roberts and Healthy Hipster for getting students enthusiastic about exercise and making healthier decisions.
“We get up and move every time he comes on; they respond very well to him,” said Mrs. Usher, a special needs teacher.
Teachers have found the videos helpful for incorporating new exercises into their students’ school day.
Mrs. Navarre, a kindergarten teacher, likes to add Healthy Hipster’s exercises when students are in line for more movement throughout the day.
Students are motivated to practice exercises they learned from Healthy Hipster. Many teachers compliment the idea for creativeness and keeping kids engaged. Even the superintendent has noticed Healthy Hipster and told Coach Roberts to keep up the good work.
To learn more about Mount Zion Primary School, visit their website at: http://139.clayton.k12.ga.us/.