By Denise Blashko
This Friday, keep your eye out for Osoyoos Elementary students, teachers and even some parents running around the neigbourhood in the annual Nighthawk and Family Fun Run.
Starting just before 9 a.m. participants will leave the school and make their way south towards Sẁiẁs Provincial Park (formerly Haynes Point) on one-, five- and 10-kilometre routes. The event should be finished by 10:30.
Students also use the run as an opportunity to gather pledges, with money raised shared between a school project to build an outdoor classroom next to the library and the Grade 7 Leadership event.
The Fun Run is the culmination of the Osoyoos Elementary School’s Learn to Run Program, which is spearheaded by teacher Dean Rowland and it’s in its sixth successful year.
“The training program is eight weeks and begins each year after spring break,” said Mr. Rowland. “The first couple of years involved just a few of the older grades and by year three the whole school had joined in.”
Every Tuesday and Thursday morning after announcements, the participants gather in the school’s upper field and Mr. Rowland leads everyone with warm-up exercises.
Then they get started alternating running and walking with the running intervals getting progressively longer as the weeks go by. They are out in the field for 15 to 30 minutes and then cool down and head back to class.
More schools nationwide are incorporating physical activity throughout the day as research has proven it to be beneficial for children’s learning and development in many ways.
According to Healthy Families BC, physical activity can help children cope with stress and it also promotes the following:
• Healthy growth and development
• Better self-esteem
• Stronger bones, muscles and joints
• Better posture and balance
• A stronger heart
• A healthier weight range
• Social interaction with friends
• Learning new skills while having fun
• Better focus and concentration during school
Keep your eye out for runners on Friday and think of ways how you can incorporate physical activity into your days. The benefits to our health and well-being are just too important to pass up — not just for our children.