When it comes to good health, the fifth-graders at Indian Ridge Elementary are setting a good example for their younger peers.
“We started small and focused on what sugar can do to your body,” said fifth-grader Tracy Johnson.
Too much sugar can cause tooth decay, contribute to obesity and lead to other serious health issues including diabetes. That’s part of the reason fifth-grade students helped plan the Indian Ridge Health Day on April 24.
“It was a big event to celebrate good health and teach the whole school,” Johnson said.
The all-day event included fresh water stations, displays of fresh fruits and vegetables, a salad bar for lunch and an assembly featuring “Skippy the Kangaroo” and his nemesis “Sugar the Kangaroo.” During the assembly, the entire fifth grade and teachers Staci Day, Sara Cutbirth and Morgan Whatley got students up on their feet and moving around with a couple of high-energy, aerobic dances.
The assembly also featured a video, starring and produced by fifth graders involved in Active Citizen. In addition to sharing their video about healthy eating, the students are also supporting a bill currently before the Colorado Legislature, which would establish a statewide Children’s Health Day.
“We need to have this because kids in Colorado are ranked 23 in the nation and we need to teach kids to be healthy,” Johnson said.
All 91 fifth-graders visited the State Capitol on May 1 to watch as the bill was given final approval. It now goes to the governor for his signature. The students plan to continue to promote children’s health, in their community, at home and at school, through activities including the Indian Ridge Cardio Club, intramural sports program and something called the “Fresh Fruit Project,” which is supported by proceeds from the student-run school store.
“We sell pens and pencils and goo, which is like putty,” said fifth-grader Tyler Arnold. “Then if a kid doesn’t have a snack, he or she can go to the cafeteria between 9 and 11 and get a piece of fruit.”
The Fresh Fruit Project is just one of many ways Indian Ridge students and staff are promoting students’ good health, which is critical to their ability to learn.