FAIRMONT - Most importantly, Haley Loerts wants her students to understand how to live a healthy, active lifestyle.
On Thursday, Loerts taught her first class at Fairmont Elementary School. She is in charge of a brand new class: Fit and Well.
For the first semester, Loerts will teach more than 500 kindergarten through second-graders. Second semester will bring the third through sixth grades.
STAYING?FIT?— Teacher Haley Loerts, left, helps Fairmont Elementary students get out soccer balls during the first day of a new class at the school called Fit and Well, which focuses on a healthy, active lifestyle.
The class is taught in rotation with gym and music, so students attend it twice per week.
"This gives us an opportunity to get them active another day," Loerts said.
She told her students their class period will be broken up into warm-up exercises, group activities and cool-down stretches. But the class isn't just another gym class. In addition to running around, students will study a health component.
"This is more about keeping them active," said Loerts, noting that the gym teacher, Deb Heinrich, will teach students the rules of games and work on skills. Loerts will sometimes supervise physical activity, and sometimes focus on health issues, such as dental care and healthy eating.
"We will be all over the building," she said.
That could sometimes mean the gym, sometimes outside, sometimes the William Budd Room for classroom work.
"A lot of the stuff we are doing are things they can bring home and do with a parent or older siblings," Loerts said.
Health topics will continue to be taught in regular classrooms with Fit and Well serving as additional information, according to Principal Jim Davison.
The class is not a new requirement by the state or incorporated to meet any regulation, he said. The district saw a need and found a way to meet it.
"If there is one thing we need to address with the children, it is healthy lifestyle," Davison said.
For older students, Loerts said a higher percentage of time will be held in a classroom. After coordinating with health teachers at the junior and senior high, Loerts came up with a curriculum that hits topics other teachers don't have time to address.
With students returning from her class hot and sweaty after running around outside, Loerts plans to use the outdoors as much as she can, even in the winter, when many kids stay indoors.
Fit and Well and gym class have been scheduled so each teacher is teaching the same grade level at the same time, allowing the classes to join together sometimes.