Sassarini Elementary moves forward on Schools in Motion

The program is designed at energizing students|

Sassarini Elementary School has begun a pilot program of My School in Motion, an innovative new school fitness program. Every morning beginning at 8:15 a.m., students and staff begin their day with 15 minutes of group exercise and learning, set to music.

My School In Motion is a nonprofit with the mission of providing students with an early positive physical activity experience, while educating them in the areas of nutrition, fitness and wellness and empowering them to make smart choices today and in the future.

“We want to ensure that students have the best start to every school day and set them on a path for a lifetime of health, productivity and happiness,” says program founder Apryl Kravofsky.

“I first heard about MSIM while working in an after-school program in Novato,” said Sassarini fifth grade teacher Ally Oxenhandler who now leads the program at Sassarini.

“I noticed that when I played music for the kids, they busted out dancing and moving in synchronized routines. When I asked where they learned their footwork, they said at their elementary school. I tracked down their school and got the name of the program. I did a Google Search, and two years and many turns later, Sassarini is proud to be one of only about 20 schools, nationwide, using the program.”

Oxenhandler said that she loves the program mostly for the difference she sees in her students. “It used to be students were a bit sleepy, could be a bit grumpy, a bit slow to pick up their pencils in the morning ... now we get to the classroom and we’re all energized! Three times as many hands go in the air at 8:30 in the morning to answer a question, as did before we started the program. Kids are awake and ready to learn. Plus, it creates a great sense of community among students, staff and parents. We’re starting our days all together.”

“We‘re excited for students to have more energy throughout the day,” said Sassarini principal Jacqui Parker. “We want to get our hearts pumping oxygen to our brains so we are awake and ready to learn! Also, exercise relieves stress and makes us feel happier!”

Oxenhandler made the program possible for Sassarini. She applied for the grant before the school year started, and Sassarini was one of the few schools throughout California who were granted this great opportunity. She now leads the project.

“There are lots of scientific reasons why academic scores go up in every school that has implemented this program, but the bottom line for me is: its fun,” she added.

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