Collaboration helps keep kids active

Local News
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — Working out just got a little more fun for some students thanks to a partnership with St. John’s Hospital.

Kids at an area grade school can now work out on the playground. Some say it’s a welcome relief after some PE classes were cut from the curriculum.

It’s a day kids at Dubois Elementary School have been waiting for.

“I love the new stuff. It’s fun. It’s just, like, I can’t even say.”

The school hasn’t added new equipment to the playground in decades, but now it’s getting that and more.

It may look like a playground, but these are actually seven workout stations focused on strengthening lower and upper bodies for students.

“I’m excited about it.”

Stacey Lohnban’s been the PE teacher here for 17-years. She wrote the grant to make this possible.

“It’s very important, especially when you hit like, 4th and 5th grade. It’s the perfect time to start working on that upper body.”

She says, over the years, kids haven’t been as interested in physical activity, but she’s glad District #186 is making it a priority, even if the state isn’t.

“It’s scary. Taking PE, or any physical education out of your curriculum is not a positive thing. I think these kids need it. A lot of them don’t get it outside of class.”

On average, kids only have two days of PE. That’s why St. John’s stepped in, giving kids a place to work out during their downtime.

“When they start lifestyle and healthy habits early, then that’s something they’re able to carry on as they become adults and are able to maintain those lifestyles.”

The fitness centers are already at two other area schools. 5th grader, Ashanti Johnson, tried one out and hopes everyone will join in the fun.

“It’s fun. I’d say to the kids, they should try this and other adults should try this, especially if they want to try to get more healthy.”

The mandate switch was included in the school funding plan. Schools only had 2 – 3 days of physical education.

Taylorville is one of the few districts which exceed standards. It has 5 days of PE each week. Many other distriicts say the budget impasse and financial restraints make it impossible to meet the four-day mandate. 

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