Dancing to the Beat of Fire Up Your Feet
Myrtle Tate Elementary students in Las Vegas, Nevada launched their first Fire Up Your Feet challenge by dancing in the classrooms every Friday to music over the loudspeaker. Even parents are encouraged to participate by coming to the school to dance with the students. Now with three Fire Up Your Feet challenges under their belts, they are still dancing! What started as a fun idea to get the kids moving has turned into a Myrtle Tate Friday tradition beyond the challenge dates.
Safe Routes to School Coordinator April Fellman learned about the Fire Up Your Feet challenge at a Safe Routes to School training. Since then, they have promoted and discussed the benefits of being active with the students and by sending home flyers to their parents to reinforce the message. After-school programs have been expanded to promote physical fitness such as intramural sports, cheer, yoga club, and a health and fitness club that includes weekly Zumba classes. Additionally, brain breaks are utilized that promote moving their bodies with GoNoodle videos.
The Fire Up Your Feet challenge, which is made possible thanks to support from Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation, has also inspired more focus on the Safe Routes to School program and was vital in getting their weekly walking program started. This year more students and parents are involved in the planning of Walk to School Wednesdays. Increased student awareness about safety is apparent, and students are more excited about walking to school rather than being dropped off. Every student who walks helps alleviate traffic congestion and safety concerns at drop off and dismissal.
A majority of Myrtle Tate students walk or bike on the trip to and from school each day. The greatest challenge they face is a lack of crossing guards since they are not in the city’s jurisdiction. Traffic congestion and a lack of sidewalks are also a problem, so they would love to see the county step in and provide sidewalks or fund a crossing guard. Their greatest asset is the dedication of staff who work hard to educate kids on safety and also volunteer to encourage walking on Walk to School Wednesdays.
Ms. Fellman said, “My favorite story from this past challenge has been inviting parents into school for RESPECT week when we launched a Fire Up Your Feet Friday with the song RESPECT. Parents really enjoyed dancing with their kids and it was a great way to invite families in to promote a positive culture. This event really makes it easier to engage with parents outside of formalized parent/teacher conferences. It is great for building a positive foundation for parent/teacher communications. We all love seeing the kids light up when their parents come in as well! Additionally, those who either sub at our school or are student teachers rave about the positive school climate that Fire Up Your Feet helps support.”
Fire Up Your Feet has added to a positive school culture and is looked forward to by staff and students alike. Staff members were excited to be trained on tracking the Fire Up Your Feet challenge, using it as a way to promote academic excellence in class, since they notice the positive impact on learning for students who are up and moving. Myrtle Tate Elementary is passionate about Fire Up Your Feet and they are committed to putting 100 percent into whatever they do, especially in bringing more understanding to the importance of getting kids physically active and promoting safety.
Special thanks to the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation and Southern Nevada Health District for making Fire Up Your Feet possible!