By Ali Kelley, deputy director, Let's Move Outside!
Last week, First Lady Michelle Obama hosted two calls to ask school leadership and prospective school champions – including teachers, staff, parents and community members – to join the new Let’s Move! Active Schools initiative. An unprecedented collaboration of organizations across sectors, the new program will bring physical activity back to America’s schools through a simple, six-step process that helps all students get moving before, during and after the school day.
The First Lady acknowledged that schools today face tight resources and difficult decisions, emphasizing that making time for physical activity can actually help schools advance their other priorities. She explained how the new program is designed to make it easier for schools to create active environments and she urged everyone – from school administrators and boards, to P.E. teachers and parents – to go to www.LetsMoveSchools.org to join.
You all know the statistics about the impact that it has on their behavior and their success in school and in life. But the fact is that more than ever before I know that many of you are stretched very thin. You’re facing budget cuts. You are juggling all kinds of competing demands. And I know that as the years pass, it can feel like it’s getting harder to find the time and the money to help your students be active.
And that is precisely why a few weeks ago we launched Let's Move! Active Schools, because we wanted to give all of you the tools and the support you need to bring physical activity back to your schools.
At the end of the day, whether or not this new initiative is successful will really be up to folks like all of you. And that's why I thought it was so important for me to be on this call today. Because we need you, and I want to make sure you understand how much you play a key role in bringing this effort to life, because we need your energy, we need your effort. More importantly, we need your imagination to make this initiative work.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
· Get informed. Learn about the many benefits of regular physical activity.
· Talk to your kids. Find out how much they’re moving throughout the day.
· Talk to your school. Tout the benefits of physical activity and ask how you can help create an active environment.
· Build a network of support. Engage other parents and community members to raise awareness and help your school become a Let’s Move! Active School. Spread the word.