The Parent Teacher Association at Brown Elementary has found a unique way to increase student’s physical fitness – a daily Walking Club.
Every morning, from 8:05 to 8:25 a.m., hundreds of students walk around the school’s track. For every mile a student walks – or runs – the student earns a foot charm that goes on a necklace. For the past five years the Walking Club has been a hit, but this year's success is extraordinary.
According to Brown PTA member and parent volunteer Deborah Elliot, last year students completed 1,400 total miles and one student had 36.2 miles. This year students have already walked more than 1,000 miles, and two students have completed 24 miles.
“It’s a great incentive to get kids to stay healthy and active. Also, studies have shown that kids who walk to school tend to do better in school. Not as many kids walk to school nowadays. The physical activity in the morning gets their energy going, heart rates up and their brains activated,” said PTA President Christine Lemke.
Students' total mileage is tracked using a software system. After every lap they scan a card they carry, and once a month the data is downloaded by a PTA volunteer who then distributes the foot charms. At the end of the year students who participated in the Walking Club also receive a certificate.
“The kids love the feet but a lot them lose the feet, so we give out the certificates too. They are always so excited to get their certificates,” said Lemke.
Some parents join the daily fray on Brown’s track, including a nearly daily participant, Summer Rosenberg, who often walks with her son.
During winter months, typically from late November until March, walking drops off due to weather. But the Walking Club always resumes in the spring.
In past years Brown has won the California Governor’s Fitness Challenge. Students at Brown also receive a half-hour of physical education each day.