Physical activity, nutrition and play are all important parts of growing up and the kids and staff at Cutler Elementary School in Swanzey have made sure that it is part of their day to day life by incorporating a program called Fuel Up to Play 60.
Fuel Up to Play 60 is an in-school nutrition and physical activity program launched by National Dairy Council and NFL, in collaboration with the USDA, to help encourage today’s youth to lead healthier lives.
This program was brought to Cutler thanks to one of their students, Mitchell Hill. Mitchell was excited about the idea of bringing Fuel Up to Play 60 to his school after participating last year at Gilsum STEAM Academy and attending a national summit for the program during the summer before the 2015-2016 school year. In the fall, at the start of the school year, he went to his principal, Audrey Salzmann and asked if he could help bring Fuel Up to Play 60 to Cutler Elementary School, and she was happy to say yes.
The hope was to get the entire student body involved and active. They were able to do so by creating kick-off stations with different physical activities at each one and they did this circuit for one hour, making sure to have all the kids moving.
Part of the Fuel Up to Play 60 program is allowing kids to become School Ambassadors by racking up points for doing physical activity and completing challenges. As they gain points they achieve levels. Once kids reach 30k points, they are considered School Ambassadors, and Cutler currently has 12 ambassadors amongst their students, one of them being Mitchell Hill.
Along with getting the students involved, Fuel Up to Play 60 has allowed, with the help of Nancy Mason, parent volunteer and program coordinator, Cutler Elementary to apply for a grant to help fund their programs and promote play. In the fall of 2015, Cutler was awarded a grant and used it to support their school wide shake up breakfast, smoothie challenge. The grant allowed them to buy the blenders and smoothie ingredients, such as fruit, for each classroom to create their own smoothie recipe. The classrooms then competed for which class had the best smoothies. The kids got involved in creating these healthy recipes and were able to try many different combinations. This challenge even changed the way some classes celebrated Valentine’s Day. Instead of sugary foods, some classes chose to create healthy smoothies!
Cutler was also able to buy some new equipment for their physical education classes and recess. This is just the beginning for Cutler Elementary, they have continuous programs and ideas planned for their students throughout the rest of the year including a 100 mile club and football clinic with Franklin Pierce University players.
Cutler Elementary School is doing fantastic things for their kids and reminding us all how important play is and that it should incorporated in every child’s daily life.
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