INDIAN WELLS – The obesity epidemic takes a heavy toll on our children, setting them up for an unhealthy, inactive future. Now, one program is getting kids moving, teaching them to turn fun into fitness.
Many schools around the nation are throwing competition to the wind, focusing instead on individual effort. This is the goal of theSPARKS program (Sports, Play and Active Recreation for Kids). The curriculum is geared at getting kids moving and healthy. They’re focused on fun and don’t even realize they are exercising.
“I really don’t care how well they throw the frisbee,” says Brent Murphy, P.E. Teacher at Gerald Ford Elementary School. “I want them to sprint 50 yards down the field.”
As childhood obesity increases, activity among children decreases. However, the SPARKS program is changing that.
“The kids are motivated to come out and move around a lot,” says Murphy. “They have more fun.”
The program encourages students to work on their individual abilities instead of comparing to others. It takes them off the big, competitive field so they can compete against themselves.
Team sports often intimidate children, so they give up on all activity. Another problem comes with picking teams. There are always a few kids who are last to get picked. This pulls down their confidence and outlook on sports.
“I’m really big on individual sports,” says Murphy. “They can do for a lifetime.”
The lessons learned through sparks give kids the tools they need so their confidence can soar.
“It really helps them for the rest of their life,” says Murphy.