Exercise coach introduces fitness into CCD classrooms

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The University of Southern Mississippi’s Center for Child Development (CCD) hosted its Move to Learn program at 6 p.m. on Monday.

The center invited coach Larry Calhoun, star of the “Move to Learn” exercise break videos, to visit the CCD to perform a live exercise for students, families, faculty and other community members associated with the center.

Calhoun, accompanied by a team from The Bower Foundation and Mississippi Department of Education’s Healthy Schools, presented an educational and interactive exercise plan as a part of the Move to Learn initiative.

Calhoun taught his audience simple exercises developed by Mississippians for Mississippi children. These exercises have been proven to raise students’ cognitive levels and allow teachers to create a healthy learning environment.

“The motive was community building among people associated with the CCD and an opportunity for parent education about the importance of music and movement in promoting the health and education of young children,” said Jeff Leffler, executive director of the CCD.

The classroom movement breaks can help teachers adjust and maintain optimum student energy levels, so that after a fitness break, students’ minds are concentrated and prepared to learn or take a test.

The Move to Learn initiative is a statewide concept focused on improving schools and students’ academic performances when exercise is incorporated into their daily learning lifestyles.

According to Move to Learn, studies of Mississippi students revealed better behavior and less school absences are associated with more fitness. The initiative’s motive is to improve students’ health and academic success.

“Brief physical activity and increased fitness improve learning and test scores,” said Scott Clements, director of MDE’s Office of Healthy Schools. “With this in mind, Move to Learn was designed to be fun for students, improve learning and assist teachers with classroom management.”

As a Move to Learn pre- school, the USM Center for Child Development will incorporate the Move To Learn curriculum into every classroom, infants to preschool.

“By exposing children at early age, our goal is reverse and eliminate trends in obesity, diabetes and heart disease by adopting healthier lifestyles not only for Mississippi’s children but for the entire family,” said Alice McGowan, program director for the USM Center for Child Development.

More information about The Bower Foundation’s Move to Learn programs may be found on the website at www. movetolearnms.org.

To learn more about the CCD, visit www.usm.edu/center- child-development. The USM Center for Child Development childcare center is located at 3400 Morningside Drive in Hattiesburg.