VANCLEAVE, MS (WLOX) - There was a very special guest at Vancleave Lower Elementary School today. He was there to promote fitness, but that's not all.
Coach Larry Calhoun is known nationwide for his Move to Learn exercise break videos. Tuesday, he traveled with a team from the Bower Foundation and the Mississippi Department of Education's Office of Healthy Schools to share his message with kids.
The day started early with some fun exercises in the school cafeteria. Officials say the simple movements before classwork begins can make a world of difference.
"It stimulates the brain and makes the students concentrate more and engage more in learning," said Principal Tanya Posey.
That's why Posey brought Calhoun here; so students could experience first-hand what they see on his Move to Learn videos. Calhoun said the research is there and shows "a strong correlation between physical activity and learning."
The idea behind Move to Learn is based on research that shows when we exercise our bodies, we are also exercising our brains. But, Calhoun says the benefits go even beyond that.
"We want kids to see school as a happy place. If a child is in a positive environment where there's joy and laughter, there's a great chance the child will do better on tests and everyday class work," said Calhoun.
The Move to Learn lessons teach simple movements that can be done in a small space in five minutes. Posey now uses it school-wide each and every day.
"We use it before classes begin every day for the first five minutes, and then we use it again after lunch to redirect the kids to focus again after they get a full belly," said Posey.
Teachers are finding that a little exercise can go a long way toward creating a positive learning environment for these impressionable children.
"He's my hero, and I really like him, because we get to have fun and exercise with him," one 5-year-old student said.
To learn more about the Bower Foundation's Move to Learn programs, go to www.movetolearnms.org.