Sweets swapped for sweat at Bastian Elementary PTA eventMar 16, 2020 01:28PM ● By Jet Burnham
Students, parents and teachers get their hearts pumping at a morning fitness class activity. (Photo courtesy of Kenessa Haight)
By Jet Burnham | [email protected]
Many PTA events revolve around sweets—there’s Parents & Pastries, Dads & Donuts, and Moms & Muffins that invite parents to spend time with their kids before school. This year at Bastian Elementary, PTA President Kenessa Haight is encouraging a break from sugary activities in favor of healthier traditions.
“I didn't want to only have a traditional twice-a-year doughnuts breakfast for families because I am health conscious,” Haight said. “I wanted to have fitness classes instead.”
The first fitness class was held before school on a Wednesday in late January. Fitness instructor Amanda Hansen, whose child attends Bastian as a first grader, led 40 children and 13 adults in a fun and easy high-fitness routine.
“The kids had a lot of energy,” she said. “It was a good class, and they were tired. I think it pushed them, but they also had fun.”
Hansen encouraged plenty of interaction between kids and their parents.
“It’s a lot of fun for the kids to be active and listen to fun songs that they know and can sing to,” Hansen said. “They can move their bodies and also have fun with their parents and their friends. It's a good opportunity for them to get out and get moving.”
Lindsay Pham said the class was a great way to start the day with her son, a second grader at Bastian.
“My son has a lot of energy, so I wanted him to have an opportunity to get some of that energy out before school started,” she said. “When I find active things for him to do before school, he generally has a better day.”
Pham also enjoys the challenge of high-fitness classes, so it was fun for her, too. She said she takes every opportunity to be involved at her son’s school, including the several activities hosted by the PTA each year.
While the fun fitness class ended with a vegetable snack, not every PTA activity will be so health focused.
PTA board members compromised to pass out doughnuts to promote the Book Fair in November and March and to provide a fitness class in January and April. Haight hopes to hold additional classes if families are interested.
“We hope that as we hold another class, we will get more participation each time,” she said.
Haight said she will continue to use her role as president to promote healthier school traditions. She has already pushed to discontinue the practice of giving each student a piece of candy or a cookie for his or her birthday.
“My choice this year was to save time and money and not do anything for birthdays because kids don’t need another treat,” she said.
Treats for holiday class parties are still decided by parent volunteers, many of whom believe sweets should be part of the celebration. Haight tries to keep the sugar to a minimum when she helps plan parties in her children’s classrooms.
“I am all about promoting healthier habits as a mom and PTA member,” Haight said. “There are plenty of healthier ways to show kids praise as well as showing them that sugar isn’t necessary to have fun.”