By Matthew Terwilliger
Edgewood Elementary has installed a new playground fitness circuit, recognizing childhood wellness as an important part of educating students.
The fitness circuit, which opened the first of May, is different from a traditional playground. It’s targeted not just for play but for full fitness-focused physical activity.
Edgewood’s circuit consists of 10 different stations for students to use, including a challenge ladder, balance beam and a place for sit-ups. Many of the stations were designed to be used in more than one way.
Signs at each station give various fitness tips and explain the exercises. Once students learn the basic components of the stations, they have the freedom to invent and discover new ways of exercising.
While signs at the fitness circuit explain the different exercises students can do at the stations, they also provide other valuable information about physical fitness. Exercise duration, frequency and technique are highlighted, as well as different body checks students can employ while exercising.
There’s also information about warming up and cooling down before and after strenuous activity.
Students were taught how to use the equipment the first week the circuit opened, said John Dorough, Edgewood Elementary physical education teacher, so they can use it on their own with minimal oversight. Children were free to use the equipment this summer, but during school, students will use the stations during P.E.
“The fitness circuit is a great alternative to other playgrounds,” Dorough said. “It’s one more tool we can use to incorporate physical fitness into our daily activities, and we are very fortunate to have it.”
Once school starts, Dorough said, students will use the fitness circuit at least once a week.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at the playground in the spring with State Rep. Paul DeMarco in attendance. DeMarco introduced the notion of a fitness circuit and worked with the school’s PTO to secure the $15,000 for the special playground equipment.
“We are grateful for the opportunity afforded our students on behalf of Rep. DeMarco and our PTO to enhance good health habits and exercise in a fun way,” said principal Patricia Simpson. “This endeavor promotes the excellence of Edgewood.”