Before-school program helps build brain activity, confidence

Peach Plains Elementary School fifth-grader Bianca Richard hula-hooped, jumped over aerobic steps and balanced on a medicine ball - all before the start of the school day.
Kyle Moroney
Dec 12, 2011

Bianca is one of nine students who participated in the school’s before-school P.A.W.S. program — Physical Activity With Spirit — Thursday morning. The group, which has up to 20 students, meets twice a week for 20 minutes before school to get their blood flowing and their brains energized.

“I like it because we get to be active,” said 10-year-old Bianca. “We have our brains all ready for school, so when we’re in class we’re ready to work.”

The six-week pilot program began five weeks ago under the direction of Peach Plains gym teacher Scott Przystas. He said research shows being active increases brain activity.

Przystas noted studies from schools in Naperville, Ill., that have shifted its physical education teaching from sports to fitness.

“They saw a huge increase in test scores,” Przystas said. “… If we can show kids that they don’t have to play a sport to be an athlete, it will help their confidence.”

See more of this story in today's print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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