"Movement Matters" pairs college mentors and Windham students

This winter, Saint Joseph's College students are teaming with teachers at Manchester Elementary School in Windham to promote healthy lifestyles for the school's fourth- and fifth-graders. Funded by a grant from the Burnham Trust, "Movement Matters at Manchester " brings 21 Saint Joseph's physical education and exercise science majors to help 50 students stay physically active over a six-week period that ends in mid-March.

The project will integrate daily movement with several academic topics, including social studies and math. For example, Donna Morton's fourth-grade class will "Walk the Counties of Maine" and Nicole LaFlamme's fifth-grade class will "Walk the 13 Colonies," while calculating distance and steps. Izzy Booth, Manchester School librarian, also purchased books on the program's theme with some of the grant money.

The Saint Joseph's students are part of professor Tiffany Miller-Gagnon's service learning project in her Introduction to Fitness and Wellness class. Service learning allows Saint Joseph's students to apply what they learn in the classroom to a community setting.

Kayla Matthews, physical education teacher at Manchester, and Saint Joseph's students will measure Body Mass Index of the students during the first week of the project and re-measure it during the sixth week. Saint Joseph's and Manchester students will wear pedometers to track distances, and the Saint Joseph's students will calculate and record the information on each Manchester student's chart. They will also escort the schoolchildren on a field trip to the college for a fun review of healthy foods, paired with activities in the pool and on the rock wall.

Saint Joseph's students will mentor the Manchester students as they work to build healthier lifestyles, and help the school get parents involved in promoting healthy lifestyles.

February 9, 2007 Contact: Charmaine Daniels at (207) 893-7723 or e-mail cdaniels@sjcme.edu