Family and Community Engagement. Students participating in family fitness night activities.

The sounds of laughter, cheers, and encouragement could be heard from the gymnasium at Yorkshire Elementary School as students and their families got together for their second annual Family Fitness Night. Six stations were set up to include cardio tag, a climbing wall, cross fit for kids, fitness circuit, yoga, and a dance party. Students were spread out across the gymnasium showing their parents and siblings how to engage in each exercise, smiling, and laughing the entire time.

The event was a successful triumph with students, demonstrated by fourth grader Ariel Rivera Valle who excitedly shared her experience. “It was nice. I liked running around and hanging on the [fitness] equipment with my brothers. I liked showing my brother around my school. I learned about yoga; I have not done that before. It is important because it helps you be strong and healthy."

Fourth grader Amy Blanco added, “It was fun to have my family there playing with me. I learned new games and exercises. It is important because it helps your body. It’s good to be tired because then you know you worked hard."

Each activity targeted different muscles and taught students the health benefits gained from each exercise. For example, the rock-climbing wall activity was a unique way for students to use upper and lower body strength along with problem-solving skills to get from the bottom of the wall to the top. In addition, students worked on balance and body control on the wall.

In “Cardio Tag,” there were “taggers” who tag as many players as they can to make them freeze in place. Players tagged must wait for someone with a ball to come and unfreeze them by tossing them a ball. Students showed their families a game they love to play and what they learned about spatial awareness and body control.

At the cross fit station, participants took part in a variety of exercises that were fast-paced and intense but enjoyable for students and families.

The fitness circuit focused on the five components of fitness that students learn in physical education (PE) and gave them a chance to show their families how to do each. Students had fun exercising with friends and family.

In the yoga activity, students and families focused their minds and bodies while learning several poses and stretches. Students enjoyed testing their balance in different ways and trying the poses.

At the Just Dance® party station, students had a fun cardio workout while dancing along with the Just Dance® videos. Students focused on the screen and mirrored the moves while sweating and having a good time dancing their hearts out.

“As a PE teacher my mission is to promote lifelong physical fitness and activity.... I truly believe that events like this are important because it allows students to celebrate fitness and exercise with their families and allows them a space and opportunity to put on a teacher hat and teach their families what they are learning. When you can get students excited about exercise, movement and taking care of their bodies, you have done something that they can take with them for a lifetime,” shared Ebony Dennis, PE teacher at Yorkshire Elementary.

Lyn Marsilio, principal of Yorkshire, shared, “We want to show our families and community that there are multiple ways to incorporate fitness into their day and the whole family can be involved. We know that children who have good physical fitness and wellness are in a better place for learning and can be healthy both physically and mentally. We hope that by showing our families and community a variety of ways to get and stay healthy, we can support them finding a way to be fit that works for them.”

Family and community engagement. Participacion familiar y communitaria.