Fifth grade students, and their parents, put on their tennis shoes and workout clothes before they headed to Newhall Elementary School Tuesday night.
The school’s cafeteria was transformed into a fitness center where students and their parents practiced their push-ups, sit-ups, sit and reach, trunk lifting and running.
Through the school’s first Fifth Grade Health Night, parents experience first-hand the expectations and exercises their children will be expected to complete during the State Physical Fitness Test in the spring.
“Today is about creating awareness for our families about what their fifth grade children are going to be completing on the test,” said Principal of Newhall Elementary School Jane D’Anna. “It’s interactive. We don’t have chairs set up here to get people active and get people moving.”
All elements of the state test, except the body composition portion, were set up in the Newhall Elementary School cafeteria.
“Each family is a team and they have to complete the six stations,” said Claudia Arrue, community liaison for Newhall Elementary School.
Fifth grade teacher Jeri Ball said the event is meant to create an overall awareness on nutrition and health, in addition to getting more parents involved and participating in the school’s activities.
“We were concerned that the parents didn’t have an awareness or a background in what we we’re expecting the children to do on the state test,” she said. “We felt like we could educate the parents by showing them what the test was on and sharing information about nutrition and health.”
Fifth grade students were excited to see their parents participate in all of the fitness challenges, especially running.
“I want to see my mom run,” fifth grade student George Davila said.
Student Kiley Norman wanted to see her younger brother and father compete in the running
competition as well.
Other students were more excited about the other fitness elements like sit and reach.
“I’m really flexible,” fifth grader Jesus Salas said. “I can do the splits because I accidentally slipped and fell once and landed in the splits and realized I was flexible.”
Parents also received information on the importance of being active and the role nutrition plays in a child’s learning and health from representatives from the Santa Clarita Valley School Food Services Agency.
“We are the school food services for them and we provide the nutritional food during the day,” said Jane Crawford, director of food service for the Santa Clarita Valley School Food Service Agency. “We want to explain the benefits to eating the school lunch to then do the physical activity.”
Tracy Fiscella, nutrition specialist with Santa Clarita Valley Food Services Agency, said all of the meals are well-balanced and include fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains and lean proteins.
“We try to educate them as they go through their choices and encourage them to go to the salad bar and choose the healthy options,” she said.
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