Dance, Dance Dance!—Little Fort Elementary Moves in the Morning

Enrolled in Let’s Move! Active Schools, Little Fort Elementary students in Waukegan, IL start each morning ready to move!

From the teachers and students in the classrooms to the principal and administrators in the hallways, every morning after the Pledge of Allegiance, Little Fort Elementary is filled with dancers. Morning Music, Little Fort’s new activity tradition, makes movement mandatory for students and staff alike for five minutes every morning. Student-requested songs—ranging from Top 40 hits to Disney songs to the Beatles—fill the building. According to teachers, getting active in the morning helps students focus for the day and has started a culture shift towards incorporating activity into the school day.

The Start of the Move

The idea grew out of school nurse Mary Colver’s desire to increase physical education and physical activity during the school day. Little Fort students only received twenty-five minutes of physical education a day, instead of the recommended thirty. Armed with research on the link between physical activity and academic performance, Colver made her case to the school principal, Dr. LaViolette. She believes the research was critical in securing LaViolette’s support, which has made Little Fort’s active transformation possible.

Collaborative Efforts Result in More Movement!

Always on the lookout for creative new ways to integrate physical activity into the school day, Colver joined forces with music teacher Anne Kobitter to add dance and movement to music class. Additionally, the two use music to teach health concepts to students and co-authored a hand-washing rap for fifth graders!

You Can Move More Too!

With only an iPod and some creativity, Colver has catalyzed a transformation in Little Fort’s culture in only a year. She believes her approach can be used at any school with little or no cost and hopes to help spread Morning Music to other schools. “This is so transferrable!” she said. “It’s all about what activates the brain.” 

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