During this time of COVID, Alameda County schools have adopted remote learning initiatives and our girls are attending school from home. This pivot to remote schooling comes with a new set of challenges, including our girls not getting the physical activity of moving across campus from one classroom to the next, sports at PE time, or recess. They are also not having the social interaction with friends that comes with a normal school experience and is important for a growing girl’s mental health and development. The CDC recommends that children and adolescents ages six to 17 years do 60 minutes or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily. This prescribed exercise not only helps with a healthy body, but also a healthy mind.
In our elementary school programming, we are holding remote sessions in movement and physical fitness. Students practice different types of fitness including dance and games – anything to get them to keep their bodies moving through guided instructions from their Program Leaders. They are also learning the importance of warm up and cool down exercises through fun, child-centered activities such as the standing flamingo stretch and the cat stretch on all fours. At the end of these sessions the students will have a chance to lead their own work out and/or participate in a freeze dance party.
In middle school we have launched three different fitness units for our fall semester. These classes are taught by Program Leaders, with special sessions led by industry professionals along the way. The girls are currently enjoying the kickboxing unit, learning the many different kicks and jabs. They are looking forward to showing off their skills and learning a few more from a certified martial arts instructor. Next up this semester is yoga, followed by cultural dance. We are looking for volunteers to be guest instructors for our next two units. If you are a yoga or dance instructor we would be interested in talking to you about being a special guest teacher.
At Girls Inc. of Alameda County, we see the challenge of staying active during shelter-in-place and are making sure that our intentional programming is meeting these needs. Being strong for our girls starts with feeling safe, valued, and comfortable to take on new positive risks in their lives and physical activities. We want our girls to make strong choices for their socioemotional well-being and for their own bodies, so we’ve adapted our programming for these needs in the remote setting.